College’s formula for science success

Pictured with some of the donated chemistry equipment are (left to right)  chemistry teacher James Donkin, students Ashleigh Bain, Ella Bloomfield, Louise Wardle, Andrew Wilson of EDF Hartlepool,  and student Craig Navin.
Pictured with some of the donated chemistry equipment are (left to right) chemistry teacher James Donkin, students Ashleigh Bain, Ella Bloomfield, Louise Wardle, Andrew Wilson of EDF Hartlepool, and student Craig Navin.
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WOULD-BE scientists have been provided with extra equipment thanks to big-hearted bosses at a power station.

Hartlepool Power Station has donated surplus chemistry equipment to the town’s Sixth Form College which it is providing a mentoring scheme for.

The link-up was formed to encourage more students to return to the area after completing science or engineering degrees.

Simon Parsons, station director Hartlepool power station, said: “The link with the Sixth Form College will see the students hear about life on the station from a variety of different engineers’ perspectives, and we will also help them with important soft skills, such as CV writing and interview techniques.”

In December last year, the students visited the power station site to learn more about the operation and also meet their mentors who will be working with them.

And when station chemist Andrew Wilson wanted a new home for some unused science such as glassware, burettes and pipettes, the college was the obvious choice, said Mr Parsons.

He added: “Hopefully the college can put this equipment to good use. And hopefully some of those chemistry students using this equipment may well eventually come to work at the station.”

Hartlepool Sixth Form College and power station owners EDF first teamed up last year for a scheme which saw the college’s brightest and best science students working on a project jointly delivered by staff from the college and EDF.

EDF staff help the students to apply their theoretical academic studies to the practical purposes of the energy industry, particularly nuclear power.

Students who have been accepted onto the mentoring programme have progressed to the college from secondary schools including Manor, Dyke House, English Martyrs, High Tunstall, St Hilds, Northfield and Shotton Academy.

This year, the project involves the students making regular visits to the power station.

College principal Rick Wells said “I am really excited by the joint project we have launched with our partners at EDF. It will provide a unique and stimulating experience for our students and hopefully will lead, long term, to jobs with EDF in the UK or possibly abroad.

“Staff at the power station have been wonderful and this could not have been possible without their generous and enthusiastic support.

“At least eight of their staff are making significant contributions to the project and I want to thank them all, but particularly I would like to thank Brian Matthews, Debbie Simpson and Alexandra Hawes for their support in organising the events that have led to this outcome.”