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Viridor, Scotland’s leading recycling and renewable energy company, once again showed their support to the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industry by sponsoring the annual Go4SET competition which, this year, was won by Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans.
Last month, pupils from schools across Edinburgh and the Lothians celebrated their completion of a 10-week competition designed to launch them into stellar careers in STEM with judges awarding the top honour to Preston Lodge for producing the most innovative project and professional report. The team will now go on to compete in the national final in June.
The Go4SET competition Celebration and Assessment Day was held at Heriot Watt University and pupils got the chance to showcase their hard work to a panel of expert judges, plus guests from industry, government and the pupils’ families.
Educators, employers and pupils will reap the mutual benefits of this initiative which aims to change the pupils’ perceptions of STEM subjects in order to increase the number of people seeking further education and potential careers in these subjects. The S2 pupils competed in teams of 6, working on an environmental project during which they were mentored by experts from local companies and were given an understanding of how STEM is central to everything we do.
Helen Anderson, Scotland Director for competition-organisers Engineering Development Trust (EDT), said: “Go4SET encourages young pupils of today to be the engineers and scientists of tomorrow. It also helps them develop skills in team working, communication, report writing and problems solving – all essential skills in today’s world of work.
“With predicted industry shortages of around 87,000 positions per year in STEM careers across the UK, it is vitally important that we make STEM attractive and accessible to our next generation of scientists and engineers. Go4SET is one effective way of providing young people with the experience of working with industry, helping to enthuse and inspire them to consider a STEM career.”
Viridor’s involvement with Go4SET is part of their ongoing work to deliver enhanced community benefits and education opportunities in the areas surrounding their Dunbar sites, including the brand new Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) which is currently under construction.
Martin Grey, Head of Public Affairs at Pennon, Viridor’s parent company, who are the main sponsor of Go4SET across Scotland said: “As Scotland’s leading recycling, renewable energy and sustainable waste partner working with 96% of local authorities we are keen to encourage young people to get involved in energy management.
“With Viridor’s ambitions for a sustainable, low carbon economy it’s not just the world class infrastructure we need but the world class talent as well. The Go4SET programme is a fantastic way to achieve this as it challenges young people to think about their environment and the future and encourages them to consider a career in the industry.
“I would just like to congratulate Preston Lodge High School on this fantastic achievement and everyone at Viridor wishes them the best of luck at the national finals.”
Go4SET is a national programme which is part of the EDT’s continuum of programmes aimed at stimulating young people’s interest in STEM at a key stage in their education.
Construction of the £177m Dunbar ERF at Viridor’s existing rail linked Dunbar waste treatment hub in East Lothian, Scotland commenced in 2014 and over 350 professional, skilled and new entrant roles are currently at work constructing the facility.
The site is due to be completed in December 2017 and once operational, will generate 30MW of base-load renewable energy direct to the grid – the equivalent of 39 wind turbines. The plant will also be capable of delivering up to 10MW of heat available for local use.