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EDF Energy and Okehampton College

Education Award, supported by UKCES 2014, Big Tick, Winner, Reaccredited 2015, 2016.

EDF Energy’s partnership with Okehampton College in Devon has encouraged students to consider a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, helping ensure a skilled future workforce and raising awareness of energy-saving.

Social impacts

  • Engaged students in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and related careers, with a 56% increase in interest in the subjects.
  • Enabled Okehampton College to save more than £100,000 in energy bills – money which has been invested in school improvements, staffing and facilities.
  • Raised energy awareness, with 57% of students informing their parents about how to save energy and 34% encouraging relatives to implement energy-saving ideas.

Business impacts

  • Encouraging more young people into science, technology, engineering and maths is vital to securing a future skilled workforce.
  • Since the partnership, 30% of students who showed no interest in a STEM -based career said they are more likely to pursue one now
  • Motivated EDF Energy staff through sustainability and education commitments, with surveys showing higher levels of pride and engagement.

I always say that sustainability is not so much about the planet we leave for our children, but the children we leave for our planet. I want EDF Energy to be a force for good, and nothing can be more important than educating children in how they can make a difference, not just within their schools, but within their families and communities.

- Vincent de Rivaz CBE,
CEO
A school’s energy is not paid for out of a separate pot, but out of the same budget that pays teachers and buys textbooks. Educating pupils about energy efficiency is critical to reducing the cost burden on a school. Working with Okehampton College, EDF Energy has been developing a long-term partnership since 2008.

The partnership’s initial aim was to reduce the college’s huge energy costs, which were up to £1,000 per day in 2006. It then seized the opportunity to use this to address an educational need, the STEM skills gap, with 39% of employers struggling to recruit skilled workers in this area.

EDF Energy worked with school staff to make STEM subjects more attractive to children. It did this through initiatives designed to educate and empower the entire school to view, monitor and reduce energy usage. These included:

  • introducing energy awareness and sustainability as key topics within the curriculum,

  • making energy use visible to pupils through user-friendly monitors and meters,

  • putting signs in place to encourage sensible energy use and recycling.

As well as Okehampton College’s 1,500 pupils, the partnership has reached 600 pupils from local primary schools, students’ families, teachers and the local community. EDF Energy employees in the company's Exeter officer were also involved.

The school's energy bills are now close to zero and it has reduced its CO2 emissions by nearly 300 tonnes per year. As a result of the partnership’s education programme, 30% of students who had no previous interest in STEM subjects said they are now more likely to pursue a science-related career. The company’s work with schools has also increased employee satisfaction and helped staff develop new skills.

Judge's quote:

"Through their partnership with Okehampton, EDF have really bought their business to life for students. This partnerships has had an inspirational effect on young people many of whom are now considering careers in STEM subjects when previously they weren’t. The school has also saved a considerable amount of money on energy that it can now spend on education. The partnership is absolutely rooted in the needs of the school and it has delivered some really impressive results for both sides." - Tulsi Naidu, Executive Director, UK & Offshore, Prudential UK & Europe