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Moray kids take STEM in their stride at wind farm sessions

By Alan Beresford

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BCHS youngsters watch a presentation as part of their STEM sessions.
BCHS youngsters watch a presentation as part of their STEM sessions.

OVER 100 students from two Moray secondary schools were trying their hand at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills at a series of innovative sessions recently.

Youngsters from Buckie Community High School and Keith Grammar took the chance to gain some key employment skills thanks to the workshops sessions funded by renewables developer Vattenfall. The students from Buckie and Keith were also joined by a group from Grantown Grammar.

The sessions took place over four days and helped students learn how to design an onshore wind farm using specialised Virtual Reality (VR) software developed by 3DW.

Students worked in project teams to study maps and identify planning constraints before creating and exploring a 3D visualisation of their wind farm design through a VR headset. They then undertook financial modelling for their project and were coached on presentation skills before delivering a presentation on their project to the class.

Hannah Penman, PT of Physics teacher at Buckie High School, said:

“Very engaging and enjoyed by all.

"Super activities for pupils [and the] presenters were fab, too!”

Ruth Jenkins, PT of Physics and Engineering, Science Education and Social Care at Keith Grammar, added: “The workshop gave the students a valuable insight into the processes involved in planning a wind farm using technology and software actually used in the renewables industry.

"It was also an opportunity for the students to develop skills and knowledge which will enable them to succeed in the workplace.”

Lucy Blake, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Aultmore Wind Farm, explained: “Vattenfall is committed to responsible development and working with the local communities neighbouring our projects.

"Having signed up to the Young Person's Guarantee, Vattenfall is delighted to support these STEM sessions at Buckie, Keith and Grantown Schools, which play such a vital role within the local community and neighbour our Aultmore wind farm proposal in Moray and the Ourack wind farm proposal in the Highlands.

“We have a strong track record for maximising local content within our supply chain and, if consented, it is our hope that these projects add to local employment opportunities locally and more broadly within Scotland's growing renewables industry.”

In addition to STEM activities with local schools, Vattenfall is developing an onshore wind apprenticeship programme for Scotland that would secure 50 apprenticeships by 2030, subject to planning consent. To achieve this, Vattenfall will work closely with Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors with the aim of securing 10 apprenticeships for each of their Scottish onshore wind projects. Aultmore and Ourack are developments that would be considered as part of this initiative should they receive consent.

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