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Students gain real-world experience during Coastal Energy internships.

Published: 28 November 2023

The Coastal Energy programme has been celebrating and sharing the achievements of the 2023 interns at regional events held in East Anglia, Barrow in Furness and Blyth. This year, 48 students were placed at 33 host organisations; they came together to share their research posters and to talk about what they had learned during their internships.  

During the events the local host companies could network and share their experiences too. Feedback from this year has revealed that 72 per cent of the host companies thought that the results of their interns’ projects were extremely useful to the business, so there was a lot to talk about during the two events. The practical application of the internship projects ensure that the placements are valuable to everyone involved. Eighty-six per cent of the interns stated that their internship had impacted their plans and career aspirations. 

“We know that these internship opportunities provide a wonderful way for young people to gain experience in the world of work through an applied and meaningful project,” explains John Best, who helps co-ordinate the programme with The Ogden Trust. “Students gain industry insight and make valuable contributions to real-world business issues; the transferable skills and confidence that the interns gain cannot be underestimated,” continues John. “But it really is win win; host companies get practical insight that can be applied to business challenges they are facing and they help to build the coastal energy talent pipeline.”

“Just this year, we have heard from two of our 2022 interns,” explains John. “Thomas White completed his internship with Vattenfall producing excellent student resources about offshore wind, which is ever growing in importance in the energy system and our efforts to tackle climate change. His internship experience helped him to secure his apprenticeship with National Grid; he also recently supported a project with East Norfolk Sixth Form College working with students who could be interns in 2024, adds John.

“Domantas Baltaragis is now completing a degree apprenticeship at Coventry University sponsored by his 2022 internship host company, TECOSIM, a global specialist in computer-aided engineering (CAE) and simulation,” John concludes.

An audience of people are seated looking towards a presenter at the front of a room

The Coastal Energy celebration event, East Anglia

Equinor joined the Coastal Energy programme as a host organisation for the first time this year. “It has been a tremendous journey for us,” explains Susan Flach-Lovesey, Stakeholder Manager at Equinor“This time last year we were exploring how we could enable a sustainable sixth form programme and now we have successfully hosted three interns and can see how valuable it is for us all and for our industry. 

“Do it once (and reach out for support if you need it) and you will do it again,” enthuses Susan. “The Coastal Energy programme transforms futures and also creates opportunities for collaborations between those in the industry. It’s magic.” 

 “This year’s internship programme has been a great success bringing together young people with STEM employers based near to them,” says programme manager Adam Boal. “It’s really great to hear about the impacts of the programme on the lives of young people, and the transformative experiences they have had. The Coastal Energy programme is helping to provide the experience and build the skills that will help them in the future and opening up a range of physicsbased future careers,” continues Adam. 

It’s wonderful to see that this year we’ve had a number of students subsequently employed by the companies they were placed with as well as students who have taken part in the programme coming back to the sector after completing further studies.” 

Teo Cojec (University Technical College Norfork) was tasked with carrying out a carbon baseline assessment of the Opergy group offices. He had to uncover all the emissions out of Opergy, and then work out what can be done to reduce them.

“From the start of the internship, I was told it’s going to be a very useful piece of work which is going to go towards lots of real-life projects and tender applications,” explains Teo. “It was absolutely brilliant and a very helpful experience. I’ve now decided to go to university to study aerospace engineering, which I think ties in very well with the offshore sector and should prove a very useful subject to learn and study. Most of the people working at Opergy had been to university and the specialists working there day-to-day were able to give lots of advice and useful help.”

Opergy Net Zero Managing Director, Andy Holyland, added: “It was an absolute pleasure to have Teo work with the Opergy Net Zero team over the summer. Following a recent office move and sizeable growth across the Opergy Group, it was essential for us to re-run our carbon emissions profile.”

Malachi and Lily pictured with their research poster.

 

“Having completed an internship at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy during the summer, I’ve come to realise how valuable internships really are. I have since attended a conference to share my experience with employers in the wind industry. I marvelled at how supportive and interested people were. To be able to voice my own thoughts and share my views concerning internship opportunities is something I very much appreciate. Over the summer I worked with another intern to produce a report exploring how sustainable Siemens’ operations are. This is something that pushed me out of my comfort zone, however I soon settled into the company and got to know many of the employees. It was an eye-opening experience. Not sure if an internship is right for you? Sign up. Go for it. And trust me, you’ll never look back.”
Lily Smith
East Norfolk Sixth Form College

The Coastal Energy internship programme is run in partnership with local colleges; each affiliated college has a Coastal Energy Champion who leads on student recruitment. Interns work in local energy companies on a 20-day placement; they complete a business-focused project which they also submit for a British Science Association CREST award. Interns receive an educational bursary to support participation  

Interns and representatives from host companies in Blyth met to celebrate their achievements in 2023. Steve Rutland is now co-ordinating the Blyth Coastal Energy programme with The Ogden Trust and will be developing networks and connections in the area to grow the programme in the Northeast.


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