Community and schools engagement recognised at national awards

National Building and Construction Awards 2021

On Thursday 18 October, the Hinkley Connection Project was named Gold award winner the National Building and Construction Awards 2021, held in London. The project’s Engineering Positive Futures programme was recognised in the community engagement category.

Tim Robbins, Lead Project Manager for National Grid accepted the award and said, “We’re delighted to accept this award. It recognises National Grid’s ambition to use the Hinkley Connection Project to inspire future generations and leave a lasting legacy for the communities we are working closest to.”

Two flagship initiatives of Engineering Positive Futures are the Hinkley Connection Education Fund and Adult Skills programme.

Every state school within the six local authorities impacted by the Hinkley Connection can apply for a £500 or £1250 grant every year of the project. Since 2018 over 315,000 local children at 402 different schools have benefited from our Education Fund where teachers can purchase much needed STEM equipment.  That includes 65,000 children from disadvantaged backgrounds and 150,000 girls.

We want to leave a lasting legacy for the communities we are working closest to

With schools already under pressure due to the pandemic,  schools who have applied previously have been awarded a grant automatically, without the need for a fresh application.

A recent survey of recipients show that the fund is hugely valued by teachers, with all respondents agreeing that the equipment they were able to buy increased their pupils interest and enjoyment of STEM.  The fact that, unlike other initiatives, teachers themselves can decide what best to spend the money on, is appreciated.

“We are a very small school and would never normally be able to spend £500 on STEM equipment. This fund has given our children opportunities to foster a life long love of the sciences and promotes a career in science,” said one local headteacher.

Jonathan Richardson, CSR officer for National Grid says, ““Supporting teachers to deliver an enhanced STEM curriculum is without doubt the best way to inspire the scientists, engineers and technicians of the future.”

Through the Hinkley Connection Adult Skills programme, we’ve funded over £500,000 of training for local unemployed people. To date, 300 people have achieved a construction qualification to help them back into work.  During the pandemic our training provider adapted the course to be delivered virtually and now we are back to face to face training held in a range of locations identified by local authorities.  The next is being held in Minehead in January 2022.

Additional support for schools and communities offered by the Hinkley Connection Project include:

  • Half and full day Power Challenge and Smart Build workshops, coordinated by the Smallpeice Trust
  • Energy and You classroom sessions for younger pupils,  hosted by education partner, STEMworks
  • Donation of laptops to Avonmouth and Tickenham schools
  • Schools engagement around the building of the world’s first T-pylon where schools have been invited to create time capsules for inside the pylon
  • Access to National Grid’s Community Grant Fund
  • Volunteering events in the community