OffshoreWind4Kids brings learning to life

Source: press release, 25 August 2022

OffshoreWind4Kids – designed to educate children in the field of engineering, technology, and renewable energy
OffshoreWind4Kids – designed to educate children in the field of engineering, technology, and renewable energy (photo: Aberdeen Science Centre)

More than 70 pupils from across Aberdeen experienced the strength of Aberdeen’s beachfront winds on Thursday, 25 August, as they built their own offshore wind turbines as part of a global STEM initiative, brought to the city by safety and skills organisation OPITO, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) and Aberdeen Science Centre.

OffshoreWind4Kids is a project designed to educate children in the field of engineering, technology, and renewable energy. Through facilitated activities on the beach, children were tasked with building their own prototype of an offshore wind turbine to withstand specified wind and wave conditions. Once decommissioned, the group had the opportunity to visit Aberdeen Science Centre to access to the wide range of interactive exhibits on offer, including the interactive OPITO – Theatre of Energy.

Andy Williamson, Senior Vice President of Energy Transition and Global STEM Lead at OPITO says, “The OffshoreWind4Kids initiative offers a fantastic opportunity to involve children in STEM related activities from an early age to engage, inspire and excite them. Workshops like this are a great way to let them get hands-on experience, understand more about renewable energy, and explore what a career in this field might involve.”

“With the UK Government targeting up to 50 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, the need for a highly skilled workforce to support the development of future projects has never been stronger. As an industry, it is our responsibility to attract the next generation of young people with the passion, creativity, and determination to imagine a different future and the infinite possibilities a career in the energy industry can offer,” Williamson continues.

OPITO has been committed to inspiring the next generation to pursue a career in the energy industry for decades. Its extensive programme of resources and events include a GBP 600,000 investment in the Aberdeen Science Centre, recently awarded five-star status by VisitScotland, the My Energy Future online platform and the Piper Alpha Memorial Safety Scholarship.

Bryan Snelling, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Science Centre, says, “We are pleased to be supporting the OffshoreWind4Kids project and hosting the schools who are taking part at the science centre, where they will learn more about renewable energy. They will have the chance to explore our 60 hands-on interactive exhibits and visit the OPITO Theatre of Energy.”

“As the only one of its kind in the UK, this immersive theatre explores different sources of energy and challenges visitors to play a game where they have to find the right mix to keep the lights on in a city. We work closely with OPITO to provide STEM education and workshops which we hope will inspire visitors of all ages, but particularly young people, to relate STEM to their career choices as the energy industry works towards Net Zero targets,” Snelling adds.

David Rodger, CEO, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), says, “As the original energy transition organisation in the North-east we represent many of the companies at the forefront of the renewables sector and it’s exciting to be part of this event with OPITO and the Science Centre.”

“It’s been reported that jobs in the UK offshore wind industry could reach 100,000 by 2030 and we need skilled workers to fill these positions. Introducing the next generation of the workforce to engineering, technology and renewable energy with something fun like building a wind turbine close to the Aberdeen Offshore Windfarm, is engaging, and interesting and hopefully it encourages the children to go away excited about the possibility of a career in this area,” Rodger says.