Engineering Students Power Their Way To The Top - 14th October 2014
Two top performing Engineering students from West College Scotland’s Greenock campus have fought off tough competition from their peers in a bid to secure work placement with leading renewable energy firm, Community Windpower Ltd.
Devised to provide students with fantastic work placement opportunities, this successful partnership between West College Scotland and Community Windpower Ltd, has previously seen a total of seven students successfully take part in the programme since the agreement came into play in August 2012.
During September, another round of student placement interviews were held in order to identify which students would be selected for the three week placement commencing mid-October.
Ben Fielding, Project Manager at Community Windpower said, “The interviews were opened to students studying HNC Engineering with Renewable Energy. The standard of students interviewed was excellent, making the selection decision much more difficult. Nevertheless, two students were chosen from the eight that we interviewed; Chris McGowan and Raymond Cracknell.”
Course lecturer Thomas Haughey, said: “I’m delighted that our partnership with CWL has continued again this year. The valuable knowledge and experience gained through placements like these, coupled with such a strong Engineering course will help our student’s employment prospects within the Energy sector.”
Based at Community Windpower’s office in Frodsham, Cheshire, the placement scheme will provide the students with a broad understanding of the whole onshore Wind Energy industry and the opportunities for specialism within it. They will also be given an insight into how the company operates and real hands-on experience with successful developers and operators of onshore wind farms.
During the placement, the students will spend their time equally between the ‘Projects team’ and the 'Operational/Technical team’ and will be given the opportunity to visit at least one of CWL’s operating wind farms.
Ben continued, “We put a lot of time and effort into our student placement schemes. I believe the agreement with West College Scotland provides their students with a great opportunity to obtain what every employer seems to be crying out for these days; some real work experience.
The student programme is set up in such a way that it not only challenges the students, but it also provides any support the students may need and enables them to work on our operational projects. The site visits are really valuable as they provide an opportunity to put theory in to practice. The students love them as it gives them a real sense of perspective and the sheer size of the turbines never fails to impress our visitors. Ultimately though, it is a good chance to demonstrate what we, as a company are trying to achieve – supporting and developing education for young adults within the Wind Energy industry so in future there will be people with relevant training and skills to develop, construct and maintain our wind farms”.
HNC Engineering with Renewable Energy student, Raymond Cracknell from Greenock said, “I was excited to hear I had been selected as one of the two students for the CWL placements. It’s a great opportunity and will allow me to apply some of the theory learned in the classroom into a practical environment whilst seeing first-hand how wind farms operate.
I think the Renewable Energy industry and the need for clean, green energy will continue to grow rapidly and will reindustrialise Scotland over next 10-20 years. This placement is a massive opportunity which I hope will advantage me when gaining employment within the Renewable Energy sector.”
Successful candidate, Chris McGowan said, “As an adult returner keen to get back into Engineering, I’m looking forward to getting as much out of the College experience as possible. When I was told about the placement I immediately knew this was something that I would apply for and thankfully I was successful.
I am very much going on the placement with an open mind; having had a history in Semiconductor maintenance this differs greatly. I am passionate about learning as much as I can there, being involved in the work but more so coming away with a total understanding of what’s involved. I hope to maybe find an interest in a different area of Engineering there; whether that be design or planning. I’m really excited to be going and I’m looking forward to getting started.”
West College Scotland and Community Windpower Ltd are committed to ensuring the student placement scheme continues to evolve and continues to provide students with a genuine ‘work experience’ that they can detail on their CV’s and hopefully aid future career decisions and employment opportunities.
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