Renewables education for all Orkney Primary kids with Fred Olsen donation

Chairman of Bonheur ASA Fred Olsen gifting the books to Councillor Gwenda Shearer, Chairman of Orkney Islands Council Education, Leisure and Housing Committee.

EVERY early-stage primary school pupil in Orkney is to have the opportunity to access renewable energy educational materials following a donation of children’s adventure books on offshore renewable energy by Fred Olsen-related companies. 

The book, Gaia’s Energy Adventure!, communicates the often complex subject of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy to 4-6 year olds, as well as encouraging girls and those from underrepresented groups to consider a career in engineering. The books have been gifted to each of Orkney’s 17 primary schools, allowing all primary children on the islands to learn about STEM subjects at an early stage. 

The book was published as part of a 2021 project by Supergen ORE Hub, an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council funded project based at the University of Plymouth that connects UK universities involved in offshore renewable energy research. 

Fred Olsen, Chairman of Bonheur ASA, presented the books to Councillor Gwenda Shearer, Chair of Orkney Island Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee whilst on a visit to the islands last week (Friday 23 September). 

The Fred Olsen-related companies have a long-standing history of investment and innovation in Orkney-based marine renewable energy, with Fred Olsen, Chairman of Bonheur ASA, receiving an Honorary Doctorate at the Heriot-Watt Orkney Campus in 1985. During the visit to the islands, Mr Olsen also marked the official opening of the Orkney Research and Innovation Campus (ORIC) alongside Orkney Islands Council and HIE. 

Fred Olsen, Chairman of Bonheur ASA, said: “Fred. Olsen-related companies are passionate about supporting STEM learning and development at all stages in the educational journey.”

“These books, published by the Supergen ORE Hub, are a fantastic way of engaging the next generation in these subjects from an early age. With Orkney already leading the way in clean energy research, innovation and development, we are delighted to support budding talent and future industry leaders by making this donation.”

Councillor Gwenda Shearer, Chair of Orkney Island Council’s Education, Leisure and Housing Committee, said:

“What a tremendous, generous gift for the youngest people in our community.  Renewable energy is part of the fabric of life here in Orkney but we can all continue to learn as we go.  As we play our role in the world’s fight against climate change, it’s important that we provide engaging educational opportunities for children on these issues.  These beautiful books will certainly help with that.”

Professor Deborah Greaves OBE, Director of the Supergen ORE Hub at the University of Plymouth, said:

“We are thrilled that Fred. Olsen-related companies have donated copies of Gaia’s Energy Adventure! to primary schools in Orkney.

“I hope the book inspires the engineers of the future to learn about the engineering and environmental aspects of offshore renewable energy, and how these technologies can play a vital role in ensuring a clean and sustainable energy mix for the future.”

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