The Catapult’s National Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, Northumberland opened its doors to local school children and apprentices as part of Global Wind Week, celebrating the power and benefits of wind energy.
On Thursday 18th June, a class of year 10 science students from Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA) and apprentices from Blyth Tall Ship were given a rare opportunity to look around the Catapult’s unique facilities for testing large-scale offshore renewable energy technologies.
Tony Quinn, ORE Catapult’s Operations Director, commented: “I’m really hopeful that positive opportunities will follow as a result of building these partnerships not only for the Catapult but the local community too.
“Opening the site is an excellent way of engaging with the local community, allowing them to find out more about what we do and the world-leading assets they have on their doorstep.”
In the morning, NCEA got to witness an R&D wind turbine rotor blade being tested in the 100m test facility. Mark Fox, Careers Adviser said, “The visit was perfect timing as they’re currently learning about renewable energy in the class-room. Getting the students out and into a real-life environment is a fantastic learning opportunity. Initiatives such as this really help to cement their understanding and inspire budding engineers of the future.”
John Richards, ORE Catapult Principal Controls Engineer, who recently visited the school and gave a presentation about renewable energy and his role, said: “It was great that we managed to get the students to the site, allowing them to see first-hand what my day-to-day job entails and gain a better understanding of renewable technologies. They showed a real interest in the work that we do and asked me some challenging and interesting questions.”
Later that day, the apprentices from local charity Blyth Tall Ship, who are doing an apprenticeship in marine engineering, were also given an insight into what goes on at the site. Clive Gray, Chief Executive of Blyth Tall Ship, commented; “I’ve waited years to visit the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s facility and see what goes on inside, it was definitely worth the wait. We’re really pleased to have established an excellent relationship with the Catapult recently, particularly as both organisations see the importance and value of apprenticeship programmes.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to repay the favour and show the Catapult staff around our tall ship. Whilst we’re very different organisations we have a key element binding us together which is harnessing the power of the wind, and I’m sure we’ll be able to build on this partnership going forward.”