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Renewable energy apprentices kickstart careers at Drax

Renewable energy company Drax is welcoming seven apprentice engineers as part of its efforts to create career development opportunities in the North and ensure it has the best in-house talent to support its ambitious decarbonisation plans. 

The apprentice engineers have won places on the technical apprenticeship scheme at Drax Power Station near Selby in North Yorkshire – the UK’s largest single site renewable power generator, which produces enough renewable electricity for four million homes.

The four-year programme gives new recruits the opportunity to gain expertise working alongside the world-class engineers at Britain’s biggest power station which has become one of Europe’s largest decarbonisation projects following its conversion from coal to using sustainable wood pellets.

Bruce Heppenstall, Drax Plant Director, said: “Meeting our new apprentices is one of the highlights of my job. Providing these young people with the tools needed to become the skilled workforce of the future is not only essential to the success of our business, it’s also an incredibly rewarding part of what we do.

“Giving our apprentices the opportunity to work on the cutting-edge, environmental technologies of the future will ensure we’re nurturing our in-house talent and creating opportunities for people here in the North to lead the green energy revolution needed to get the UK to net zero, supporting a post-covid economic recovery.”

The apprentices beginning their careers at Drax Power Station this year are:

– Centime Breach-Frank, 19, from Goole
– Ethan Dealtry, 18, from Goole
– Ethan Stringer, 19, from Thorne, Doncaster
– Jack Woods, 19, from Thorpe Willoughby
– Joshua Whiteley, 17, from Osgodby, near Selby
– Matthew Taylor, 17, from Knottingley, near Ferrybridge
– Ryan Stocks, 19, from Barlby, near Selby

They will be trained within the maintenance department of the power station, with three of them in mechanical roles and four working alongside the electrical and instrumentation team.

Centime Breach-Frank, who has joined Drax as an electrical apprentice, said: “I applied for an apprenticeship at Drax because it offers incredible opportunities and the chance to gain experience for my future career. I’m most looking forward to meeting and working alongside highly skilled engineers, many of whom started out their careers as apprentices in the same way I have.”

Drax offers apprenticeships in business support areas as well as engineering disciplines. A further six apprentices will start work in September in the HR, IT and facilities departments.

Drax aims to become carbon negative by 2030 by using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and recently submitted plans to build two BECCS units, creating and supporting tens of thousands of jobs across the North.

Work to build BECCS at Drax could start as soon as 2024 and once operational the two units combined will capture at least 8 million tonnes of CO2 per year, making a significant contribution to the UK’s efforts to address the climate crisis, whilst generating the renewable electricity the country needs.