HECE Educating The Next Generation
Pupils from three primary schools in Warwickshire have been given a behind-the-scenes insight into different careers within the renewables industry, after paying a visit to the HECE solar farm which is the largest community solar farm in the UK.
Around 135 children, aged 9-11, were invited to attend a workshop at Leys Solar Farm in Stratford-upon-Avon. Taking place across four days in July, the initiative was designed to educate the next generation on climate change, while inspiring young people to think about green careers.
During their visit, the pupils from Thomas Jolyffe and St Greggs primary schools took part in a range of practical activities. They were given a tour of the solar farm and got to meet the team who constructed it. They also took part in wind and solar power challenges, which saw them making a wind turbine out of old materials and using small solar cells to build a power circuit as well as exciting energy saving games to encourage positive behavioural change.
Leys Solar Farm forms part of the largest community owned solar farm in the UK, which covers an area of 75 acres – the equivalent of more than 1,800 football pitches. The solar development comprises of around 60,000 solar panels and is capable of generating enough energy to power around 3,800 homes. It was designed and constructed by Reading-based renewable energy developer, Anesco, who also sponsored the school visits.
Tom Wales, Regional Operations Manager at Anesco, commented: “It was fantastic to meet all the children and to talk to them about solar power and the role renewable energy has to play in tackling climate change. They were so enthusiastic, with loads of great questions! “If the UK is to achieve its net zero carbon emissions target and make the switch to cleaner, greener energy then we’re going to need a skilled workforce to deliver it and hopefully these workshops gave the children an insight into the many different types of careers on offer.”
Kate Evans, Graduate Planet, who co-ordinated the initiative, said: “A huge thank you to all the schools who joined us. For the children, this was a fantastic opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at a solar farm and to learn about climate change through fun, practical activities. We’re sure they’ll remember the experience for a long time to come.”
Kate continued: “Following the various lockdowns and a time where the children’s worlds have been so much smaller, the chance to go on a trip somewhere so unique, has not only been fantastic for their learning but also their wellbeing. We cannot thank our generous sponsors and supporters enough, as well as those who gave up their time to join us for the workshops and helped make the visits such a success.”
The four-day event was funded and backed by a number of organisations including Heart of England Community Energy (HECE), Anesco, Orbit Group, Graduate Planet CIC and The Royal Society of Chemistry.