Dragon LNG – The Darwin Centre Experience

The Careers Wales Education Award, Winner 2016

The Dragon LNG Darwin Experience (DLNGDE) uses field trips and hands-on activities to engage pupils, particularly those from deprived backgrounds, in technology-related career paths.

Good for business

  • The project is helping to build stronger relationships between various departments at Dragon LNG.
  • Partnerships formed to help run the project have gone on to be useful for other areas of the company’s work.

Good for society

  • There is a severe shortage of young people with STEM skills in the UK and this project is helping address that challenge by increasing interest in these areas.
  • Teachers are being supported with access to industry experts and cutting edge thinking.

Dragon LNG logo

Overview

DLNGDE supports pupils from all backgrounds, and inspires them to see science, technology engineering and maths (STEM) education as the best way to improve their chances of finding fulfilling work. The project works with multiple professional partners to expose young people to industry experts, exciting businesses, and aspirational organisations.

In Pembrokeshire, where DLNGDE was launched, there is no university and limited cutting edge STEM related businesses; reducing the opportunities for young people to engage with this sector of the economy.

DLNGDE adds value to teaching and schools by supporting cutting edge STEM understanding, complementing the curriculum, improving schools against inspection criteria, and helping to raise attainment levels.

The project enables thousands of young people to access industrial expertise, improve learning experiences, reach their potential, and raise aspiration.  It is particularly important for local young people to pick up the right skills to get them ready for employment in the growing energy sector.  Swelling the pool of talent in this way supports Dragon LNG’s aim to recruit locally.

Each year the project connects with 70 head teachers and 140 teachers and learning support staff.

Dragon LNG is a standalone business, with its own management team. The facility receives, stores and cools Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a vital source of clean and reliable energy for the UK.

Background

The Dragon terminal is a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) receiving, storing and regasification facility based in Waterston, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire. The facility has two shareholders, Shell and Petronas.  One of just three such terminals in the UK, Dragon forms a critical part of the nation’s energy infrastructure, providing a link between the UK and its overseas gas suppliers for a vital source of clean and reliable energy.

Over 85% of homes in the UK use natural gas and a significant proportion of UK electric power is generated from this. The demand for energy and natural gas is increasing at a time when the UK’s domestic production from the North Sea is declining.  Dragon can supply up to 10% of the UK’s energy needs, allowing diversity of supply from 19 producing countries around the World.

The Dragon LNG Darwin Centre Experience

Since 2005, 33,000 young people have taken part in activities at the DLNGDE to improve their understand of STEM subjects. The courses bring inspirational scientists to talk to and work with secondary school pupils, and have already been nominated for two national awards.

The project is celebrating its tenth year and receives huge support from its various associations, especially its core partners The Darwin Centre Educational Charity, Pembrokeshire College, Pembrokeshire County Council Education Department and Pembrokeshire Schools, and Dragon LNG. 

Financial commitment 

The financial commitment made by Dragon is an important part of the project because confidence in funds is a powerful driver to a voluntary sector group. This financial stability has driven the partnership network.

DLNGDE invests around £80k p/a in the project, up from £45,000 (2005). In 2008 the local authority provided £5,000 p/a in support, this has increased to £7,000 per annum in recent years – a very strong indication of the project's value to them.

Dragon LNG has funded the project with more than £700,000 since 2005 and another three years' funding (approx. £250,000) has been agreed from 2017.

What Dragon LNG's Managing Director said:

“The programme enables us to ensure that children receive an exciting introduction to STEM that otherwise they might not get. I am absolutely convinced that the work we have done in the past ten years, and the work that the project is doing to bring STEM subjects to schools in Pembrokeshire, will pay real benefits in the future.

“Developing the next generation is important to Dragon, which is why we focus our efforts on youth development, like the fantastic Darwin project.” - Becky Lumlock, Managing Director, Dragon LNG