2017 has been an exciting and successful year for the Ogden Energy Internship Programme under the leadership of John Best. The scheme, plugs the gap between work experience and apprenticeships, and provide sixth form students with a placement that utilises and enhances their STEM skills in a business environment.
At the end of November, the programme was awarded the Spirit of Enterprise – Great Yarmouth: Great Investment in People Award, and earlier in the year, it was recognised in the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) Energy Awards 2017, winning in the category of Skills for Energy. John Best has himself received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Suffolk.
Established in 2016 in the East of England, the Energy Internship scheme began as a partnership between The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Ogden Trust and Suffolk County Council in association with Waveney District Council, and is part of a wider scheme called The Lowestoft Engineering Project. The programme has now expanded to the West Coast, and is working in partnership with the well-established Barrow Engineering Programme.
In its first year, the Energy Internship programme placed five interns from schools in Lowestoft. In 2017, 20 interns were placed in 18 businesses on the East Coast of England and a further five were placed in three companies in the Barrow region. “These internships provided 500 working days (two working years) to industry over the months of July and August 2017 through meaningful applied projects delivered by the sixth-form students,” explains John. “A fantastic win/win for all concerned.
“However, getting under the numbers, each internship represents important steps on a personal journey. And what can be achieved in just 20 days is amazing. For example, Josh Sturman, aged 18, had his report peer reviewed by a very senior engineer in Siemens who wrote: ‘His research, analytical, critical thinking and writing skills are exemplary … The standard of your report and the information It provides is exceptional, far beyond your years and would stand up in any board level meeting (including many Blue-Chip Companies).’
“And Lucas He, a 17-year-old intern from Lowestoft Sixth Form College, tasked with undertaking an Assessment of Economic Impact of Local Supply Chain Content associated with Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm (one of the world’s largest), began with zero knowledge of the industry. Twenty days later, Lucas had conducted 18 face-to-face interviews with senior industry managers and produced a 22,000-word report together with robust supporting economic analysis.
“These are not examples of ‘work experience’, they are wonderful exemplars of young people experiencing and contributing to work. And there are many other…
“In 2018,” John continues, “The Ogden Trust will be providing funding to extend the programme to 50 students per year, for the next three years. Onward and upward for 2018, and the opportunity to help create and share many more inspiring journeys”
Felicity Levett was an Energy Intern in the scheme’s first year – she went on to study physics at university and has since taken part in the Ogden Summer Internship programme further expanding her experience within the energy sector:
“Over the course of six weeks, I travelled up to Scotland to work with PhD student Oliver Tulloch on an Airborne Wind Energy Device, the Daisy Kite. The project was to run a series of lab experiments, based on the novel torque transfer system used by the device. The internship gave me a way to practice skills which I had developed over my first year at university and to develop new ones that will help me in the future.
“Although the internship taught me about torque and how to solve physical problems, it also introduced me to the world of academia and what potential paths there are for me after completing my bachelor's degree.
“My favourite part of my time in Scotland, was definitely meeting the people I worked with and lived with. They were all so welcoming and encouraging and gave me confidence to continue my course.”
Having completed an energy internship placement in 2016, Felicity was able to apply to the Ogden Alumni Summer Internship scheme. Felicity Levett