Engineering students at two Northern Powerhouse universities have received valuable career advice on how to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs from staff at the UK’s biggest power station.

Human Resources (HR) staff from Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire shared tips on how to make a CV attractive to future employers during workshops with students at Sheffield University and spoke to students at Leeds Beckett University at its Graduate and Placements Fair.

The final year students also discussed the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills in finding work when they graduate. They also learned about potential opportunities for them to work as a year in industry student, or as a graduate at Drax – the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the biggest decarbonisation project in Europe.

Resourcing specialist Shelley Lawton from Drax’s HR team, who delivered the sessions for the students, said she was impressed by how enthusiastic they were about the future, adding: “We got some really good questions from the students about how they can stand out when applying for jobs, which is obviously something on all students’ minds as their courses end.

“It can be a big scary world out there when you have to go out and find a job. We advised the students to be selective, to focus on the quality of their applications, not quantity and to apply for the jobs they really want. By explaining why they want the role, hopefully, their passion and their personalities will shine through.”

She added that students were interested in engineering roles with Drax but also in a range of other roles in the company, which recently announced the acquisition of £702m worth of flexible and renewable power generation assets from Scottish Power, including pumped storage and hydro.

Andy Koss, Drax Power CEO said: “Engineering excellence has been key to Drax Power Station’s transformation into Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project, but our proposed expansion into new forms of generation, such as pumped storage and hydro power, means our requirement for highly skilled STEM graduates is only likely to increase.

“Taking part in these events at the brilliant universities in Sheffield and Leeds is all part of our long-term commitment to skills development. Every business in the Northern Powerhouse region has a role to play in creating opportunities for young people, reaching out to our communities and raising aspirations – encouraging them to develop the skills they’ll need in the future.

“We have world-class engineers in the North now, but we need to do more to ensure the next generation has the right education and skills, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) to carry on that legacy.”

Nine engineering apprentices began their careers at the Selby-based power station in September, a 50% increase on last year’s intake as Drax continues to invest in and promote STEM skills.

The energy firm also sponsors a number of PhDs at Sheffield University, producing cutting-edge research into area such as the impact of human behaviour on vehicle to grid technologies – where electric cars could store and discharge power back to the grid to support the electricity system.


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