EMPLOYEES at Drax Power Station has teamed up with an educational charity to ensure students don't miss out on valuable work experience during the pandemic.

Drax and Teach First have put together a four-day online programme for disadvantaged students across England.

The energy giant usually holds work experience programmes each year, as well as welcoming thousands of students on free educational tours.

During the Covid crisis all educational site visits have stopped to reduce Covid risks and protect keyworkers.

Drax has plans to roll the virtual work experience programme out nationally, supporting the company’s Mobilising a Million bid to increase social mobility by creating opportunities to support education and improve employability.

Drax Group’s head of sustainable business, Vicky Bullivant, said: “We work closely with schools in our communities to inspire children from all backgrounds to study STEM subjects, so the next generation has the education and skills needed to support businesses like ours as we continue to develop and grow.

“With students unable to visit our sites during the Covid crisis, it’s essential they don’t miss out on the opportunities businesses like Drax would usually provide.

“Virtual Work Experience builds on the work we’ve already done to provide laptops, free internet access and virtual tours of the power station to ensure no students are left behind in their studies during the lockdown.”

Students who applied for Drax’s virtual work experience programme could choose from four different business streams engineering, business support, IT and project management and finance.

When restrictions ease, Drax intends to resume its programme on site, but will continue to host a virtual programme online as well.

To deliver its programme, Drax partnered with Teach First, which aims to build a fair education by tackling inequality in the sector.

Russell Hobby, chief executive officer of Teach First, said: “Even before the pandemic hit, the poorest pupils were too often left behind.

"Their odds of succeeding at school and in the working world are now even tougher as a result of Covid-19. Work experience is a vital opportunity for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain the skills and connections they need to succeed.

"We're grateful to businesses like Drax for helping to make sure that every child can maximise their potential.”

Participants in Drax’s virtual work experience programme learnt about the energy company, focusing on developing employability skills and learning about their business area through conversations with employees and targeted projects. They also had the opportunity to ask members of Drax’s executive committee about their careers during a Q&A session.

This year’s Covid lockdown resulted in many students being home schooled for months, so the Drax virtual work experience programme took place during the Easter Holidays, so that participants did not miss any more vital classroom time during the school term.

Drax plans to host two more virtual work experience programmes during the summer and October school holidays.