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Bright sparks given royal seal of approval


A ground breaking initiative to prepare young people for the world of work was today (Wednesday, November 24th) given a royal seal of approval by HRH The Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex.

His Royal Highness met young people undertaking a new skills initiative which is part of a wider partnership between ScottishPower, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (the DofE), and Glasgow City Council.

‘Skills in Energy’ is specifically targeted at apprentices taking part in Glasgow City Council’s Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative who are doing their DofE.  It offers young people (aged 14-24) an understanding of the energy sector and how electricity is produced, transported and dealt with in a safe, efficient manner.

HRH The Earl of Wessex was able to see the seven bright sparks involved with the partnership in action as they demonstrated some of their new electrical skills, including basic wiring installation, drawing cables, as well as circuit testing.

The apprentices are also currently being supported through their training by Tigers Ltd and construction firm Carillion.

During his visit to Stow College in Glasgow, The Earl of Wessex also met with DofE participants and volunteers from Cleveden Secondary School, and Soccer Success, a programme developed by Glasgow City Council targeting young people who have become disengaged with school.

To conclude his visit, the Royal visitor presented new DofE Centre certificates to Cleveden Secondary School, Tigers Ltd, Soccer Success and ScottishPower.

Ann Loughrey, Head of CSR at ScottishPower, said: “We are committed to improving the life chances and employability of young people and our partnership with the DofE is already having a positive impact on communities throughout the UK, most especially Glasgow.

“A key focus of our partnership with the DofE will be to give young people the opportunity to acquire valuable vocational and life skills for the world of work.

“We are delighted that HRH The Earl of Wessex has been able to spend time with the apprentices today to find out how the skills and experience they are learning is making a real difference to them and their outlook.”

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, said: “We are delighted with how well our partnership with ScottishPower is really impacting the skills and life chances of young people and benefitting communities in Glasgow.”

Young people who are doing their DofE and who are interested in the energy sector can undertake the Skills in Energy module as part of their DofE programme.

Skills in Energy enables young people to understand the importance of using a variety of different ways of creating electricity.  It introduces them to the latest technology to support the demand for electricity and the impact on the environment.  In addition to this it increases their understanding of the different careers that exist for them in the energy sector and the skills required to help them get there.

Issued by The BIG Partnership on behalf of ScottishPower.

For more information please contact:
Kim Munro on 0141 333 9585 / 07966 224910

Nicola MacNaughton on 0141 333 9585 / 07725 638246

Notes to Editors:

  • ScottishPower provides employability training for young, disadvantaged people in our local communities through programmes in three distinct areas – school, community and work based.

  • Since 1996, their community programmes have helped over 18,500 young people. The positive, long term impact of ScottishPower work was recognised in July 2007 with a Silver Jubilee Award from Business in the Community, as well as several Big Ticks across its range of programmes.

  • The energy giant supports The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with a sizeable six figure sum and by working to support an increase in vocational opportunities through taking part in DofE programmes. 

  • Over the course of the relationship, ScottishPower is the key national partner of the DofE.  The utility company encourages young people from all walks of life to do their DofE and succeed, regardless of any barriers.  The company aims to have a lasting impact on young people’s behaviour, skills and life chances.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Notes

  • The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded in 1956 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh who remains the Patron.  HRH The Earl of Wessex is a Trustee.

  • Over 275,000 young people were taking part in DofE programmes in the UK, supported by 400 partner organisations and over 50,000 adult volunteers from all walks of life.  Around 12% of participants are experiencing significant disadvantage.

  • Last year over 183,000 young people started a DofE programme.

  • 79,310 achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, an increase of 11% from last year: Bronze: 51,967, Silver: 19,659, Gold: 7,684

  • In total, over 4.5 million people have participated in DofE programmes and achieved almost 1.9 million Awards in the UK since 1956.

  • Through the volunteering part of their programme, young people give their free time to society with a value of over £19 million per year.

  • A survey, commissioned by the United Learning Trust, with major employers, found that a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is valued more than work experience when selecting employees.

  • The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a Registered Charity No 1072490 and in Scotland No SC038254 and a Royal Charter Corporation RC000806.

  • DofE programmes are run in over 130 countries worldwide, highlighting how the DofE can truly transcend boundaries of race, language, ethnicity and culture.

  • Further information can be found at