National Grid turns to Cheltenham HR Tech company to drive young interest in STEM careers


The National Grid, one of the world’s largest publicly listed utility companies distributing electricity and gas, has joined forced with an award-winning HR tech company to inspire more than 100,000 young people to consider a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

The partnership with MyKindaFuture, which has an office in Cheltenham, is aimed at inspiring pupils from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), through interactive workshops, an online challenge, form time and assembly takeovers, and digital mentoring programmes.

More than 100,000 pupils in South London will benefit from new STEM skills and careers outreach programmes being launched by Warwick-headquartered energy company National Grid in association with MyKindaFuture, which calls itself the leading UK underrepresented talent specialists.

According to research carried out by National Grid, the energy sector needs to fill 400,000 roles between now and 2050 to meet net zero. This innovative programme will help support the meeting of this target, while at the same time giving students in some of London’s most disadvantaged areas, greater opportunities to learn about the industry and the range of careers they could pursue, even during the pandemic.

The programme was piloted in Southwark in early March to coincide with British Science and Engineering week, with the full programme now underway. The scheme will be reaching young people living in the seven boroughs of South London that are impacted by National Grid’s £1 billion London Power Tunnels project, which sees the company building a new network of electricity cable tunnels south of the Thames. The programme is aimed at reaching the most disadvantaged schools within the area of the works, and is planned across five years, enabling sustained and impactful engagement with the young people in the capital.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on schools has meant that underrepresented students need careers support more than ever; the virus’ economic effects have caused gaps in social mobility to widen, and school closures have led to greater inequalities in accessing education resources. In light of this, National Grid and MyKindaFuture have adapted the schools’ engagement programme to be largely virtual throughout 2020, with inbuilt flexibility allowing for a pivot to face-to-face, as circumstances allow.

The workshops will be led by volunteers from the London Power Tunnels project, as well as professionals from MyKindaFuture, which specialises in supporting young people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their potential by helping them gain new skills, work experience and employment opportunities. Its partnership with National Grid will see the team delivering an online challenge that tasks students with designing a radio ad in order to encourage a new generation to join the Net Zero Energy Workforce. This will sit alongside attraction webinars, virtual workshops and digital mentoring schemes designed to develop employability skills and demystify careers in STEM, as well as educating young people about the importance of a greener grid.

Will Akerman, Founder and Managing Director at MyKindaFuture, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with National Grid on such an exciting and important project. We are passionate about providing young people with the opportunities that they deserve to succeed in life and are confident that the scheme will prove invaluable for disadvantaged pupils in the area, as well as positively impacting the UK STEM industry.”

With research suggesting that disadvantaged students are twice as likely to become NEET (not in education, employment or training) aged 18 than their peers, the programme will be offered to students in years 10-13 in a bid to tackle this injustice.

Gareth Burden, Project Director at National Grid, added: “This is an amazing opportunity to empower pupils and give them the skills and information they need to pursue STEM subjects and careers in our industry. Thanks to our programme with MyKindaFuture we will help create a pipeline of talent for the hundreds of thousands of jobs we need to fill across the energy industry in order to meet our net zero targets by 2050.”