The first six months of this year have been the GFG Foundation‘s busiest ever, including bigger student programmes, new markets and a host of successful initiatives as we push to develop a new generation of green industrial skills.
All the GFG Foundation’s sites from the UK, Australia, and across Europe have seen exciting progress in our vision of helping young people develop industrial know-how so they can succeed in life. Launched six years ago by Nicola and Sanjeev Gupta the GFG Foundation has already supported more than 8,900 students in developing skills, especially in engineering, metalworking and renewable energy.
Romania, where the Foundation launched in 2021, has been particularly active this year. Our LIBERTY Galati business has just finished the first year of a three year programme with 21 electrical students at the Paul Dimo High School. Last month the students took part in the Education in Excellence Gala organised by the Galati Mayor and City Hall.
Building on the success of the first year, Galati’s programme will soon be recruiting for a second wave of students. And buoyed by our success in Romania we have just launched a similar project in the Czech Republic, where LIBERTY Ostrava and the Electrotechnical High School in Ostrava will select up to 30 electrical students for its pilot project. We are considering launching similar ventures elsewhere in central Europe.
Both Galati and Ostrava are important parts of GFG Alliance’s industry-leading plans to cut emissions so its global operations are carbon neutral by 2030. This is why the Foundation focuses so strongly on programmes developing the younger generation‘s skills for industrial innovation. At Galati, for example, we’ve launched a summer school Robotics Club for children of employees, offering free robotics courses to develop their passion for innovative subjects.
Whyalla, in South Australia is a major project for us in which we will develop hydrogen-powered steel production from the area‘s rich mineral and renewable energy resources. In May our team there held their first ‘Get Job Ready‘ sessions, hosting more than 30 past and present Foundation students for a day of site tours, targeted career information and job-ready instructions.
In the run up to the day, students were asked to nominate an area of the steelworks or mining operation they were interested in. Each participant was then paired with one of our in-house professionals to spend some time observing and experiencing the work that sits behind our operations. At a time when fewer young students are opting for technical education and careers in industrial sectors it reflects the GFG Foundation’s goal to stop this trend and attract the younger generation to the industry.
In the UK, where the GFG Foundation started in 2017, we have just held the Grand Final of a student programme that ran in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust in which LIBERTY Steel UK mentored students from four Rotherham and Sheffield schools as they worked on an environmental project.
The programme, which doubled in size this year, launched two years ago with the goal of helping young people develop their STEM and green industrial skills and solve real-world issues in their local communities. Feedback from teachers and students was excellent and there is lots of appetite from schools for us to run the programme again next year.
These are exciting times for the GFG Foundation. Investing in future generations is critical to a sustainable future and a mission we are passionate about. Our growing range of programmes and the interest in them show the benefits to young people in building real life experiences so they can thrive in the changing industrial world.