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Feeling the power

The East Coast Energy Internship (ECEI) scheme has been recognised in the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) Energy Awards 2017, winning in the category of Skills for Energy. This summer, the ECEI programme placed 20 interns in 18 businesses on the East Coast of England. Now in its second year, the scheme has also been extended to the West Coast and a further five interns were placed in three companies in the Barrow region.

“I was thrilled by the Award,” says Ogden Consultant John Best (Best Proactive) who is leading the scheme, “and delighted that I was able to assemble so many of the colleges, host companies and students to celebrate with a group photo! [shown right] Importantly, I believe that we really captured the imagination and enthusiasm of the industry who want to be part of the 2018 programme, with Vattenfall, sponsor for the Skills Award, describing the project as inspirational.“

“It’s fantastic to see this award recognising the hard work of all the schools, companies and interns involved, as well as John in bringing them together,” added Clare Harvey, Chief Executive of The Ogden Trust. “This is a truly collaborative project that enables young people to gain a deep understanding of work going on in their local area.”

At the awards ceremony last week, John presented the programme to a judging panel made up of leaders within the energy sector. The entries were awarded 50 per cent of their marks from the panel and 50 per cent from audience votes on the day.

“The essence of the ECEI scheme is that it is open to all,” explains John, “but it is competitive in nature to ensure that the best experience is achieved for both the student and the host company. One key feature that has become apparent is just how far those students with some potential, from all different levels, seem to raise their game, increase their confidence and improve their soft skills when they are given this internship platform to develop their technical and taught subjects in the real world.

“This year, I had the pleasure of seeing the output of an internship project with Fern Communications. Two interns worked together to produce a commercially valuable project in just 20 days. Nervous and a bit anxious before the start of their placement, their faces on day 19 when they presented their findings were radiant! The MD, Founding Director and technical staff from the host company were there for the presentation; their appreciation and delight at the work delivered was tangible. We watched in awe as a system the interns had designed and built dealt with power cuts, monitored faults in remote locations, assessed them, correlated on a database, and transmitted alerts to the engineers by text. Fantastic.

“In 2017, the internships on the East Coast and in Barrow, have delivered the equivalent of 500 working days (two working years) to industry over the months of July and August, through meaningful applied projects undertaken by 25 sixth form students. A fantastic win/win for all concerned.”

Established by The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Ogden Trust and Suffolk County Council in association with Waveney District Council, the East Coast Energy Internship programme has been developed to plug the gap between work experience and apprenticeships. The East Coast scheme is now sharing experiences with the West Coast programme.

The East and West Coast internship schemes are fully funded by The Ogden Trust and provide the students with a placement that utilises and enhances their STEM skills in a business environment. These Internship schemes are part of strengthening a shared pipeline of opportunity with similar programmes in two marine communities (Lowestoft/Great Yarmouth and Barrow in Furness); each serves the offshore wind, gas and nuclear industries and many of the energy companies involved have representation through both areas. 


MAIN GROUP PICTURE
Back Row: Graeme Cook, John Clare,  John Best, Stuart Rimmer, Chris Hosea, Nicky Casey, Rachel Moore, Clare Harvey, Neil Clarkson, Scott Atkinson, Johnathan Reynolds, Judith Masters, Rebecca Sommers, Gemma Head, Les Holden  Front Row: Joshua Sturman, Lucas He, Evie Read

SMALL GROUP PICTURE
Back Row: John Best, Clare Harvey (CEO – The Ogden Trust), Scott Atkinson (RAEng)
Front Row: Joshua Sturman, Lucas He, Evie Read