Bright sparks power ahead with Hartlepool Power Station

The students, from left, Charlotte McKenna, Charlotte Welsh and Ella Bloomfield are chatting with Brian Matthews from the power station.
The students, from left, Charlotte McKenna, Charlotte Welsh and Ella Bloomfield are chatting with Brian Matthews from the power station.

THREE bright sparks are being supported through university by an energy firm after taking part in an innovative engineering mentoring scheme.

Former Hartlepool Sixth Form College students Charlotte McKenna, Charlotte Welsh and Ella Bloomfield, who have been taking part in the initiative at Hartlepool Power Station, are off to university next month.

Charlotte Welsh will study chemistry at Teesside, Charlotte McKenna is off to the University of Aberystwyth to do an environmental earth science degree and Ella will read joint maths and physics at the University of Warwick.

And the 18-year-olds will be helped with an annual grant from power station owner EDF Energy along with the offer of potential summer placements and on-going support from their station mentors.

Station director Simon Parsons said: “This is great news for them, but also for the mentoring scheme which is proving very successful.

“It was the brainchild of Brian Matthews our strategic outage manager who started the scheme a couple of years ago and so far the site’s mentors have worked with around 30 sixth formers.

“I am hoping that those we are now supporting at university will return to Hartlepool as graduates, and maybe become mentors themselves.”

The station linked up with Hartlepool Sixth Form College and English Martyrs Sixth Form College to offer the two-year mentoring scheme where students find out more about a potential career with EDF Energy.

The students work with a range of engineers and are also given advice on important skills, such as CV writing and interview techniques.

Charlotte McKenna said: “The financial help of the sponsorship is a blessing, it takes a lot of stress away for me and my parents.

Charlotte Welsh said: “Sponsorship gives me the hope of getting a job through the graduate scheme and in the meantime a summer job, which will be an amazing experience.”

Alison Willetts, director of faculty (STEM) at Hartlepool Sixth Form College, said: “All of the students have benefitted enormously from their first encounter with industry.”