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The North of England’s gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), has partnered with Solutions for the Planet on its Big Ideas programme, helping to promote education for sustainable development, social enterprise and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers for young people.

Schools across the North of England are invited to sign up to the programme that aims to inspire young people to generate solutions to sustainability issues, as well as enhance their personal development. Students and teachers taking part are supported by a team of mentors from NGN and The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM), Mears Group and Kongsberg Automotive.

Employees from NGN will be championing six schools across Yorkshire and two schools in the North East, providing support to over 1,150 11-14-year-olds across the region. Each participating school will take part in a Big Ideas Day and will develop their ideas into a business plan, which will be entered into a regional competition. Regional competition winners will be taken forward into a National Final alongside schools from across the UK, presenting to a panel of judges at the Palace of Westminster.

Melanie Taylor, Head of Stakeholder Relations at Northern Gas Networks, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Solutions for the Planet on its Big Ideas programme, teaching young people the vital skills needed to succeed in future employment within the energy sector. Here at NGN, we are extremely passionate about tackling the UK skills gap in STEM and sustainability, and we are committed to helping develop the confidence and creativity of individuals in these areas.

“Employing and developing talent is vital for a strong economy and to ensure that a business is equipped with the skills it needs for the future.  Initiatives such as the Big Ideas Programme help to raise young people’s career and work aspirations through experiencing real-world business challenges and develop their employability skills.  In turn businesses can build a powerful workforce by creating a pipeline of future talent and positioning themselves as an employer of choice in their communities.”

Jen Baughan, CEO at Solutions for the Planet, added: “We are delighted to welcome NGN as a partner in our North England region.  It was clear from our conversations with NGN that the voice of young people is very important in their business, particularly, but not exclusively, with regards to the future energy mix and sustainability.  We look forward to working with the NGN team and are confident that they will both bring a lot of knowledge and take a lot of inspiration and new skills away from their involvement.”

The North England Big Ideas programme is now underway and will conclude with regional finals in May, before the National Final in June.

For more information about Northern Gas Networks please visit northerngasnetworks.co.uk

For more information contact S4TP Comms Lead Sarah Milburn sarah@solutionsfortheplanet.co.uk or call +44 (0)7393 863689

Anyone that smells gas or suspects carbon monoxide should call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999. This line is in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week.