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Hydrogen car lessons will fuel careers in green energy

Oliver Norris of Future U testing out the hydrogen powered car.
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Hydrogen car lessons will fuel Lancashire careers in green energy

Students in Lancashire have been studying for local careers in the green energy market by building model cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The lessons are the first in a series of ‘in-a-box’ activities designed and funded by Future U and are designed to inspire students to take an interest in careers in the energy and low carbon sector when they finish school.

Schools can apply for the boxes to be delivered free containing a self-assembly model car with a fuel cell that produces hydrogen from water to power the car motor. The box also includes a lesson plan on low carbon energy sources of the future, plus details of careers available and the education paths available to land a job in the growing sector.

Energy and low carbon makes up one of the six industrial sectors identified by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership as ‘Pillars of Growth’ where the local jobs of the future will be focused, with students being trained up and encouraged to explore career paths to secure jobs in the industries.

Other boxes in the series will include advanced manufacturing, where students will learn the basics of building jet planes on a limited budget, plus lessons focusing on digital skills, food and agriculture, health and tourism and culture and place. All activity boxes are free of charge, and each comes with a set of detailed instructions and resources to help teachers deliver the session.

Lessons including the hydrogen powered car have already been delivered to students at Our Lady and St John Catholic College in Blackburn.

Andrew Larkin, careers lead at the school, said: “It’s an excellent resource and provides pupils with an opportunity to investigate future low carbon possibilities for travel. It will get pupils thinking of alternatives to fossil fuels and how their generation can help with climate change.”

A lesson plan was also delivered by Future U to children in care at a recent conference held by Lancashire County Council.

Audrey Swann, Head of Virtual School CLA at Lancashire County Council, said:

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“The Lancashire LA Virtual School annual Key Stage 4 conference for our Year 10 and 11 looked after young people took place at Dunkenhalgh Hotel recently. Attendance was very good, with young people from secondary schools throughout Lancashire taking part.

“One of the sessions was led by Outreach Workers from Future U and focused on the skills and careers needed to meet the environmental challenges the world faces- so it couldn’t have been more relevant in the same week as COP26 was being held! The young people were challenged to build a car powered by hydrogen in teams, an activity which was great fun as well as being informative and inspiring. Feedback from the young people was really positive.”

Andy Foulds, Outreach Officer at Future U, said:

“These identikit boxes are a full careers lesson for teachers and get students to think about future careers in sectors which we know will grow and require local workers very soon.

“It also allows student to get excited about what the low carbon agenda can offer Lancashire and the opportunities that come with that. Hopefully colleges can use these kits to get children thinking about their next move after school and pursuing a quality career in the green energy sector.”

Future U works across Lancashire to increase career and higher education aspirations for young people and encourage teenagers to think about studying at university and their career aspirations.

The project also supports families and young people from areas which are currently underrepresented in higher education and works with adult learners, children in care, young carers and students from military families.

Since the start of the project in 2017, Future U has delivered over 1,100 careers activities across 70 schools and colleges in the area, in addition to creating a range of educational and careers resources available to download from its website, www.lancashirefutureu.org.uk.

Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and involves institutions and organisations across the county including University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, Edge Hill University and the University of Cumbria. Its list of partners include: Blackburn College, Blackpool Sixth Form College, Blackpool and the Fylde College, Burnley College, Edge Hill University, Inspira, Kendal College, Lancaster University, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne College, Preston’s College, STEMFirst, Runshaw College, The Lancashire Colleges, University of Central Lancashire, University of Cumbria, West Lancashire College.

Lancashire’s Future U works with a network of schools, in addition to colleges, higher education providers and local agencies to create tailored activities to meet the needs of students for now and the future.

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