SIX students gave up time in their summer holidays to take part in an engineering sustainability challenge. 

The aspiring engineers, all from West Cumbria and either at college or having just sat GCSEs, spent eight days on a project looking at ways of reducing carbon emissions at Sellafield Ltd’s Engineering Centre of Excellence at Cleator Moor.

The summer sprint project was the first of its kind and was set up by Lorna Devine, Sellafield’s Engineering Development Solutions Lead,  in collaboration with Lakes College and the Centre for Leadership Performance.

For the project the students were given a £250,000 budget and asked to recommend the most effective ways to lower carbon emissions at the Engineering Centre of Excellence and contribute towards Sellafield Ltd’s long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

The students spent a week on the project at the Engineering Centre of Excellence, working with the Sellafield team and gaining personal development coaching from the Centre for Leadership Performance, followed by three days working on the project at Lakes College.

At the end of their eight days of project work the students presented their findings to Engineering Centre of Excellence’s senior managers at a specially-arranged project outbrief event held at Lakes College on Wednesday (August 23).

Those attending were presented with the following recommendations by the students to deliver to the brief most effectively and within budget: roof insulation; tinted/stained windows; double/triple glazing; wind energy; and signage with carbon reduction messaging.

Craig Branney, Sellafield Ltd’s Head of Off-Site Developments said the next step from the pilot project was to ensure there were career pathways into employment for those who took part and others in the area interested in pursuing engineering qualifications.

Craig said: “This is our first summer sprint working with Lakes College and the Centre for Leadership Performance and it has been a really positive experience. What is crucial now is how we work together to make sure there are job opportunities for them in the supply chain."

Sharon Baillie, Lakes College Business Engagement Manager, added: “The students have shown fantastic commitment to take part in the sprint and develop their skills in their own time. This is going to stand them in good stead when they are looking for employment.”