UTC students go behind the scenes as huge Energy Works power plant takes shape

Young people destined to become the first students at Hull’s pioneering university technical college (UTC) have had an inspiring behind-the-scenes tour of the region’s biggest construction project.

Sixty teenagers who are due to join Ron Dearing UTC when it opens in September have become among the first people to see the vast Energy Works power plant being built on the east bank of the river Hull.

Energy Works is a £200m investment in one of the UK’s most innovative green energy facilities and the Humber region’s largest current development.

As well as visiting Energy Works, the prospective year 12 (age 16) students heard about the remarkable seven-year journey from concept to delivery of the project during presentations delivered at Spencer Group’s Hull headquarters.

Ron Dearing UTC students Energy Works 2

Spencer Group is one of the Founding Partners of the UTC and has steered the project to develop Energy Works. The company is now playing a key part in construction of the energy recovery facility.

Energy Works representative Simon Hornby, who organised the visit, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to see such a large construction project first hand and appreciate the vast amount of work involved in developing and delivering a complex project on such a scale.

“The presentations focused in part on the design skills within Spencer Group which have been used to create the facility. Those skills are directly relevant to the specialisms of digital technology and digital engineering that the UTC will focus on, so the students could see how what they will learn can be applied to major infrastructure projects.

“It was also a really good opportunity to explain how the local area will benefit from the green technology being used in Energy Works and illustrate the employment opportunities available locally in the engineering and energy sectors.

“The overall message to the students was that, in future, they could be involved in the design, construction and management of facilities like Energy Works.”

Spencer Group Executive Chairman Charlie Spencer OBE, who is the UTC’s Chair of Trustees, led one of two tours for UTC students, together with Andy Beach, Spencer Group Project Director, and Jason Arthur, Site Manager for the principal contractor, M+W Group.

The visits to Energy Works and Spencer Group’s offices were part of a programme of engagement for students, aiming at inspiring the young people and building friendships and a team ethos before the new school opens.

Ron Dearing UTC students Energy Works 1

The programme has also included visits to the headquarters of another of the school’s Founding Partners, KCOM, where students saw how the local telephone system works, and to the Engineering Department at the University of Hull, the UTC’s Lead Education Partner, where students spent the day tackling a number of problem-solving challenges.

UTC Vice Principal Mark Ollerenshaw said: “The visit to Energy Works has been a major highlight of our engagement programme.

“It was an absolutely amazing opportunity for the students to see such a huge and exciting development taking shape. We’re so grateful to Charlie and his team for arranging the visit and being so generous with their time, knowledge and experience.

“The opportunities our Founding Partners have made available demonstrate how deeply committed they are to the UTC and to providing experiences that inspire the students about the fantastic careers options open to them.”

Energy Works is due to begin generating electricity in April next year, using an innovative gasification process to produce energy from refuse-derived fuel (RDF) from household and commercial sources.

Energy Works will generate sufficient energy to power 43,000 homes by treating 250,000 tonnes of RDF annually. The development has created employment for up to 350 people during the construction phase, with more jobs on and off site once the plant is operational.