Students solve the SPR board problem – reNews

Two ambitious engineers traded part of their summer vacation for a special project to recover a control board that was dropped from a ship in the North Sea off Lowestoft, England.

The virtual scenario has been designed by ScottishPower Renewables to spark the imaginations of summer interns Alice Hill and J-Lan George.

Students from East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Gorleston, spent four weeks working with renewable energy experts from SPR’s East Anglia THREE offshore wind farm and parent company Iberdrola.

Alice and Jie Lan, who live in Lowestoft, were based in the SPR offices at the city’s renewable energy hub OrbisEnergy and worked with some of the team behind East Anglia THREE, which will be the world’s second-largest offshore wind farm when it starts generating power. Clean energy in 2026

SPR created the internship and wrote the challenge for Alice and J-Lan for the Coastal Energy Internship Programme, which provides scholarships to Year 12 and 13 students for 20 days in the summer in the energy sector managed by the Ogden Trust.

The internship gives students valuable CREST awards, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) program run by the British Science Association, and recognized by universities and potential employers.

Alice and Gillan faced the hypothetical challenge of retrieving a 50kg control board approximately the size of a household refrigerator that had been dropped from a ship during cable laying operations.

They came up with three potential solutions to recover the devices, taking into account health, safety, environmental factors and cost implications.

Alice, 18, is studying for an engineering degree at Brunel University after achieving A levels in mathematics, physics and German and a BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Engineering.

“This training has been invaluable to me because I want to pursue a career in engineering,” she said.

“It has been great to work with SPR, speak with people within the company and get an insight into the team working in an industry that is at the forefront of our future.”

Gillan, 19, is studying engineering and IT after moving to Lowestoft from the Caribbean three years ago.

“I knew about offshore companies, but in a more general way. Now you have learned about the structure of wind farms and how much care and attention is taken before starting any construction.

“It was difficult to find the best solutions for our scenario – determining the location and all the different factors that could affect recovery such as what types of species are in the water and what is protected.

“I gained many skills from this, including teamwork and being more responsible while doing my research. It really helped me socialize and build my self-confidence.”

Jack Brock, SPR’s Global Head of Technical Safety, added: “It has been great to work with Alice and J’Lan and give them the opportunity to grow their skills and profile within the industry.

“We have a huge pipeline of projects in the region that will produce enough green electricity to power millions of homes and secure jobs and business opportunities for years to come, so it’s incredibly important that we support talent locally.

“With a scheme like this, we can get young engineers thinking about what goes into building a wind farm in the context of displacement.

It is a great mechanism for us to develop efficiency and future-proof our operations. Who knows, we might see Alice and Jillian back working with us in the future!

Catherine Richards, Headmaster of East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “The opportunity to undertake an internship with a prestigious employer and spend time in industry is very important to our students.

“It helps them put what they have learned in the classroom into context and practice, and exposure to the work environment first hand is crucial.

“We are very grateful to the Ogden Trust for their continued support in arranging internships for EN students and also to ScottishPower Renewables, who are a major employer in this field, for providing this invaluable experience to the two students.”

Chung Ling Liu Cain, Program Director at The Ogden Trust, said: “A 20-day period working with a company like ScottishPower Renewables provides a unique opportunity for young people to get their first experience of working in the energy industry.

“The program is mutually beneficial; the trainees work on a commercial project for the host company and in doing so gain real-world experience, which sets them apart from others. Many of the trainees have gone on to work in the energy industry, adding to the next generation of the workforce.”

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