Lancashire’s youth receive new Eco-Lab from BAE Systems

A new facility to support young people’s understanding of climate change and routes to net zero is being established in Lancashire thanks to a £100,000 donation from BAE Systems. The ‘Eco-Lab’ has been introduced at the Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone (B&DYZ) to educate young people on climate change issues and how they can take an active role in contributing to a greener planet. 


Climate change is an issue of great importance among the Youth Zone community but many feel uninformed and powerless to make a difference.


The Eco-Lab forms part of the ‘Maker Zone’; a space within the Youth Zone which aims to raise confidence and aspirations among young people and demonstrate routes to long-term meaningful careers, through a range of engaging activities in specialist areas including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Activities in the ‘Maker Zone’ range from designing and making physical products using sustainable methods such as 3D printing, to the development of specialist coding, programming and Artificial Intelligence skills.


As the UK’s sovereign combat air provider, BAE Systems is a leader in technology and advanced aerospace manufacturing and is committed to supporting local economies and advancing national STEM skills. The relationship between BAE Systems and the B&DYZ stretches back more than a decade and the latest investment will help provide funding for the next four years.


Hannah Allen, CEO of Blackburn & Darwen Youth Zone, said: “Over recent years, we have responded to the requests and desires of young people to develop their digital skills in preparation for jobs for the future. With the support of BAE Systems, which has been a continued proud patron of B&DYZ for more than 10 years, the establishment of the Eco-Lab has been made possible.


“The project aims to provide our young people with the skills and knowledge to thrive in a green economy. We support the aspiration set out in the Government’s sustainability and climate change policy that learners should know the truth about climate change. They must also be given hope that they can be agents of change through hands-on activities which will equip them for a greener future.”


Hannah Swindell, Head of Sustainability at BAE Systems, said: “Playing our part in addressing the significant and lasting impact of climate change is a key part of our sustainability agenda. Supporting the Eco-Lab ensures we can champion young people to develop the skills needed to tackle climate change, provide solutions for important issues and make a positive impact in their future lives and careers.”


The donation from BAE Systems will fund specialist equipment and training for B&DYZ team members to take the more than 1,000 young people expected to visit the ‘Maker Zone’ over the next four years through an innovative skills-building programme. Young people will be encouraged to find novel solutions to climate change problems using a range of digital skills.

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