Hydrogen car lessons will fuel 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 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 for 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 available career opportunities and education pathways in the growing sector.

Energy and low carbon make up one of the six 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 encouraged to explore career paths to secure jobs in the industries.

The second box in the series is advanced manufacturing, where students will learn the basics of building jet planes on a limited budget. Other boxes will focus 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.

The energy and low carbon box has 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.”

Future U also delivered the session to children in care at a recent conference held by Lancashire County Council.

Audrey Swann, Head of Virtual School for Children Looked After (CLA) at Lancashire County Council, said: “The Lancashire CLA 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 and so it couldn’t have been more relevant in the same week as COP26! 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: “The energy and low carbon session allows students to get excited about what the low carbon agenda can offer Lancashire and the opportunities that come with that. Local schools will use these kits to get young people thinking about their next move after school and pursuing a career in the renewable 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 across Lancashire, and works with adult learners, children in care, young carers and students from military families.

Learn more about our latest activities here.

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