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Scaling new heights

This summer, UK Power Networks welcomed two college students to undertake a summer safety challenge for the electricity distribution company. Robert Williams (pictured far left) and Joe Darling (right), both 18, linked up with UK Power Networks through the Ogden East Coast Energy Internship programme, fully funded by the Trust and supported by the Royal Academy of Engineering. They are pictured with Ian Wilmshurst, Overhead Line Instructor, UK Power Networks.

The interns gained an insight into a career in the power sector with the company which delivers electricity across the East of England, London and the South East. The pair were asked to research a report on the real-life challenge on how best to safely transport electricity workers down from heights during rescues.

For the project, Robert gained on-the-job experience with UK Power Networks, while Joe worked with Technicus Consulting as they scrutinised rigorous existing procedures for rescue operations and considered whether these can be further developed.

UK Power Networks, which keeps the lights on in the East of England, put the youngsters through an induction at its training centre at Risby, near Bury St Edmunds, ahead of their 20-day August placement.

Colin Davey, who manages Risby Training Centre, said: “We were more than happy to support this internship programme for the first time because providing young people with opportunities is hugely important to us.

“What we liked about this was its real sense of purpose. Robert and Joe were given a clear set of tasks to complete and the work produced will be of genuine benefit to us as a business.

“We hope they both take a lot from the experience this summer as they continue to develop their learning and use the experience as a platform to go on and succeed in their respective careers.”

John Best is the Ogden Trust Consultant responsible for the Energy Internship programme. He has considerable experience in the energy sector and founded the membership organisation East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) in 2001, serving as its Chief Executive for 11 years.

John said: “I am delighted by the real enthusiasm for the programme shown by many companies in the sector.

“This project brings together UK Power Networks, a national ‘blue chip’, and Technicus Consulting, a local civil engineering consultancy, working together to guide and mentor two local students examining a real-life engineering challenge, managed and driven by them, providing an important step in helping to develop their future careers.

“These internships will help Robert and Joe develop a better understanding of how the STEM subjects that they are each studying [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] are applied and used in the energy industry.”

Robert, from Stalham and who attends East Coast College, said: “This is a great chance for me to gain experience in an engineering work environment, meet new people and learn and develop skills.

“At the same time, it gives me insight into their given task and what we do can hopefully make a small difference to a big company like UK Power Networks.”

Joe, from Great Yarmouth, and who is at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “The project has been an interesting slice of the industry.

“It has helped me see all the different areas of work and research that can go into making one small change within a company like UK Power Networks. I am looking forward to finishing the project and applying what I have learnt at college to a real-life situation.”