A NORTH Yorkshire power plant has pledged to improve skills, education, employability and opportunity for one million people by 2025.

Drax launched its Mobilising a Million initiative at a virtual event today, Thursday, January 14, attended by Justine Greening, local politicians and education partners to discuss working together to support communities through Covid and beyond.

Drax is one of a group of UK businesses and universities aiming to set a new and higher standard on boosting social mobility.

Clare Harbord, Drax Group's director of corporate affairs, said: “Drax, along with other businesses, has an important part to play in making sure we have a future workforce with the skills to deliver the new technologies needed to decarbonise the economy and meet the UK’s net zero target.

"By boosting education, skills and employability opportunities for a million people, we can start to level the playing field and build a more diverse workforce.

"This will make the energy sector stronger and able to make a more significant contribution to the UK’s green recovery from Covid.”

Drax’s Opportunity Action Plan is in partnership with the Social Mobility Pledge, led by the former Education Secretary, Justine Greening who said: “Businesses like Drax have a crucial role to play in levelling up, and ensuring that our country’s net zero targets and ambitions are not just met, but delivered in a way that creates opportunities and levels up communities like Selby, Ipswich, Northampton and in Scotland where Drax has its operations.

“In publishing this Opportunity Action Plan and marking its ambition to improve skills, education, employability and opportunity for one million people - Drax has demonstrated its commitments to making a positive social impact.”

Drax is a leader in renewable energy, having converted the power station in North Yorkshire to use sustainable biomass instead of coal, transforming the business to become the largest decarbonisation project in Europe and the UK’s biggest single site, renewable power generator.

It plans to go further by using Bioenergy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology to become carbon negative by 2030 – meaning it will be permanently removing more CO2 from the atmosphere than its operations create.

As a founding member of the Zero Carbon Humber bid which aims to use BECCS, hydrogen and other CCS technologies to decarbonise industry across the region, Drax will help to level up the North.

Independent analysis published last year by Vivid Economics shows that deploying these new, green energy technologies will create and support around 50,000 jobs, helping to reverse the economic impacts of the Covid crisis.