Building local links
Pupils learn about local industry and build their own wind turbine.
Published: 26 July 2022
With funding from The Ogden Trust, The Port of Blyth STEM Hub – an innovative initiative, supported by the National Research Centre for Offshore Renewable Energy (the ORE Catapult) and the Port of Blyth – is working in collaboration with leading renewable energy employers to develop a series of school workshops to raise awareness and engagement in the economic development that is occurring in south-east Northumberland.
The first workshop on wind power was recently delivered to Year 6 students from Newsham Primary School – hub for the Ogden Blyth Partnership. They enjoyed presentations by Catapult engineers introducing the concept of wind energy, watched videos demonstrating the construction and testing of a wind turbines, and discussed renewable energy and offshore wind.
The pupils then got hands-on with a practical activity, building a kit wind turbine and generating electricity which they measured with a voltmeter. Pupils had to identify the most effective design and configuration of the turbine blades.
“This opportunity afforded our pupils the chance to find out more about renewable energy and what is happening in their town, whilst learning about engineering in an active, engaging way,” enthused the school headteacher Anne-Marie Armstrong. “These young people are the next generation’s workforce and CATAPULT certainly inspired many of them to consider their future employment options; for several this opened up a whole new world of opportunities to aspire towards.”
“I really enjoyed learning about wind turbines with CATAPULT. It was amazing and I had lots of fun.”
“I learned that being an engineer can be fun and building the wind turbines was amazing.”
“Blyth has a proud place as a national hub for renewable energy,” added Will Brindley, a Catapult Research Engineer involved in the workshop. “By telling the story of my career and through the hands-on workshops, we show young people that a rewarding career in renewable energy is possible on their doorstep. I believe that engaging local schools is one of the most important things I’ve done at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.”
The announcement at the start of this year that Blyth will be the new location for Britishvolt – a gigafactory focused on developing and delivering the next generation of car batteries for the electric vehicle market – is testimony to the need to develop strong science/physics pathways for children and young people in the area. Projects like this will help to embed the real-world application of physics learning across the primary and early secondary curriculum in partnership with project employers.
Plans are already in development for workshops looking at solar energy, wave energy, subsea energy and battery energy.
“The children had a great morning learning about renewable energy. I am sure we have some potential future engineers!”