DRAX Group has pledged to lead the energy industry in providing opportunities for people from all walks of life.

The energy company which runs the UK's largest renewable electricity generator in North Yorkshire will publish a report later this year about its work to champion social mobility.

Drax also highlighted its efforts to raise aspirations during a visit from the founder of the Social Mobility Pledge.

The pledge is a cross-party campaign which encourages businesses to work with education providers through apprenticeships, work experience and other schemes to create opportunities for all.

Justine Greening, founder and former Secretary of State for Education, visited Drax Power Station to hear about its work to improve education and skills, and said: “By removing barriers to STEM learning and opening up employment opportunities within the energy industry, Drax is giving young people the skills needed to forge successful careers in a sector which has an important role to play in the transition to a net zero economy.”

During her visit to North Yorkshire, she also visited Selby College, one of Drax’s educational partners.

Drax has become Europe’s largest decarbonisation project by converting two thirds of its generating units to use biomass instead of coal.

It recently announced plans to become a carbon negative company by using innovative bioenergy with carbon capture and storage technology. Negative emissions technologies like BECCS are critical to the UK to achieve its net zero carbon targets whilst also creating new jobs and opportunities for clean growth.

Andy Koss, Drax CEO Generation, said: “Companies like Drax are developing and innovating using new technologies which will help to combat the climate crisis. It’s important that communities are not left behind during the transition to a more sustainable future – making sure people have the right skills is a key part of that.

“At Drax we work with schools and colleges to provide exciting activities and experiences which help to boost education, inspiring students by giving them access to new technologies from within the energy sector, like electric vehicles, which provides invaluable experience.”

In 2019, Drax worked with schools and colleges to encourage more people to study STEM Science Technology Engineering and Maths subjects by providing them each with an EV kit car for students to build and race.

Liz Ridley, deputy principal of Selby College, said: “Our students have got involved in some incredible projects with Drax, such as building and then racing their own electric vehicle.

“Having the chance to work with such experienced and skilled engineers from Drax on an exciting project like that, was inspiring – it opened the students’ eyes to new possibilities and gave them some of the skills they’ll need in the future to grasp the opportunities which come their way. We’re looking forward to repeating the project again with more of our students this year.”

Drax has a significant network of partnerships with schools and colleges which encourages access to STEM learning. It also provides work experience opportunities, apprenticeships and graduate recruitment schemes.