A power station’s innovative mentoring scheme has paid dividends.
The first graduates of the Hartlepool power station project, which pairs sixth form students with engineers from site, have returned to the company and started full-time roles.
Charlotte McKenna, who studied environmental earth science at University of Aberystwyth, is now working at Hartlepool as part of the team.
Ella Bloomfield, who studied maths and physics at the University of Warwick, has also joined EDF Energy’s graduate scheme and is working in London.
The mentoring scheme was set up in 2012 and saw staff from the site working with students from sixth form colleges across the area. Each year around 20 young people join the two-year scheme and nearly 70 have now passed through the programme.
Craig Dohring, station director at Hartlepool power station, said: “When we first set up the scheme in 2012, we wanted to show the area’s sixth formers that great careers were available in engineering, science and maths on their doorstep here at the power station.
We knew that many students who went away to study did not return to the North East and so we wanted to encourage them to come back to the area. And it’s great that the first two, of hopefully many students who have been on this scheme, are now working for usCraig Dohring
“We knew that many students who went away to study did not return to the North East and so we wanted to encourage them to come back to the area. And it’s great that the first two, of hopefully many students who have been on this scheme, are now working for us.”
Charlotte said: “I really enjoyed the scheme as it meant that I got to come on site and learn more about the careers available at EDF Energy. We also had interview, presentation and CV skills workshops that helped at university, my dissertation and applying for jobs.
“I had an interview for the graduate scheme during my summer placement in 2016, it was really reassuring and motivating to know that I had a job to go to after I finished university.
“When I started back on site at Hartlepool and my old mentor from the sixth form scheme came to say ‘hi’ – neither of us can believe that it all started five years ago!
“I’m really looking forward to my placements during the year seeing other stations and job roles, especially my final placement with new build at the Hinkley Point C project.
Ella, who studied at Hartlepool Sixth Form College said: “The mentoring scheme was an essential part of my preparation for the world of work.
“It gave me the rare opportunity to explore a lot of areas of the power station and find out more about the wider business.
“I enjoyed the experience I had from the mentoring scheme so much that I applied for the EDF Energy finance graduate scheme at the beginning of my third year at university. I truly believe that the skills I learned throughout the scheme played a big part in helping me to achieve this.”
She urged others to join the mentoring scheme and added: “It’s an excellent starting point for thinking about life after further education and it really opens your eyes to a vast range of future opportunities.”