How Uniper in the UK is inspiring the next generation
A secure and sustainable energy future is very much at the front of all our minds currently and it’s something that is absolutely at the heart of Uniper’s strategy. As well as working on decarbonisation initiatives, it’s vital that we also engage and develop the engineers of the future, who will be responsible for ensuring that today’s plans become tomorrow’s reality.
As part of Uniper’s overall sustainability ambitions , we recognise the importance of the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) which are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
One of these, Goal 5 is for Gender Equality. It’s well documented that the number of women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers is far lower than the number of men, making up roughly a quarter of the UK STEM workforce. Uniper’s own numbers also reflect this, with women making up just 25% of the overall workforce in 2021.
To address this, and both encourage and enable more women and girls, to embark on STEM careers Uniper is undertaking a number of focused initiatives.
STEMAZING Inspiration Academy
For 2023, Uniper in the UK has partnered with STEMAZING, an organisation with a mission to amplify the voice of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to create a more diverse and inclusive STEM future workforce. This partnership will see Uniper sponsoring three women from its UK business to undertake a four month STEM coaching programme, helping them to become more active and confident role models for the next generation.
The three Uniper women joining the STEMAZING Inspiration Academy will take part in training and workshops to build their confidence on camera and their personal STEM delivery toolbox. Then, as visible and inspiring role models they will deliver a 6-week programme of fun, interactive online sessions designed to engage children aged 7 - 9 years old and encourage them to take up STEM subjects in future.
Uniper STEM ambassador, Helen Turner, believes that “Becoming a STEM ambassador and getting involved in STEM activities is a fantastic way to get young people excited about STEM subjects to support their future careers, as well as highlighting the roles available within Uniper and our industry. STEMAZING has recently released its impact report after two years of running the Inspiration Academy. Over 43,000 activities have been delivered to over 7000 school children with the aim of encouraging more children, especially girls, into STEM. I’m delighted that Uniper is helping to make these numbers even higher by sponsoring three of our own through the next cohort of the inspiration academy.”
During 2022, Uniper also ran an engaging project to encourage girls to take up STEM subjects at school, through books written by their peers. The books are personalised, short stories, created by two budding young female authors, and the daughters of Uniper employees. The girls spent a year writing their books and working with illustrators to bring their stories to life, with the aim to inspire young people to choose to study STEM subjects in the future. Hardback copies of their books, ‘The Journey’ and ‘The Pool Party’, are being distributed to primary schools across the UK and placed in the British Library in London.
The finished books were presented to the young authors by Uniper STEM Ambassadors, of which there are currently around 30 in the UK. Their classmates were also involved, with an interactive STEM activity session on the future of energy.
Some of our operational sites also work with schools in their local community or run STEM events on site. In September 2022, Cottam Development Centre (CDC) invited its employees’ children to site for a tour of the power station led by two of CDC’s engineers, where they could discover in person exactly how the electricity they use at home is generated, and see for themselves the vast scale of the assets. An engaging presentation on power generation was delivered by two Uniper undergraduate and graduate engineers. There was also an interactive session where the children could generate hydrogen from wind power, and use the hydrogen to power an electric vehicle – a real opportunity to see how we can achieve climate neutral power generation for the future. And a glimpse of what they could be working on in a future career!
These are just some examples of the activities carried out by Uniper in the UK to inspire more young people, particularly women and girls, to discover and embark on STEM careers. Other similar activities are carried out in all Uniper’s locations.
Find out more about STEM careers at Uniper here