42 students from three Cornwall College courses are getting ‘real life’ experience of working as green energy consultants through a pioneering programme linking education with business through sustainability.
The Cornwall College Camborne students are working on projects as part of the Schools for Intelligent Energy Use (SIEU) project which is funded by Intelligent Energy Europe, with eleven partners across nine EU countries. The UK element of the programme is being delivered by Community Energy Plus, Cornwall’s leading charity delivering local solutions to fuel poverty, energy efficiency and renewable energy.
20 students from the Mechanical and Engineering BTEC level 3 course are working with the Illogan Green Ripple community project to help Adelaide Stores in Tolvaddon identify where energy efficiency measures and behavioural changes can help the village shop save energy and which renewable energy technologies may be appropriate.
Simon Wills, owner of Adelaide Stores, said: “The Illogan Green Ripple project has provided an exciting opportunity for us to play a part in a community-wide project to reduce carbon emissions and we’re really pleased to have enlisted help from our local college to investigate what we can do to become a greener business. The students that visited the store were full of enthusiasm and I was very impressed with the ‘no stones unturned’ level of questioning they gave and certainly look forward to finding out what they propose.”
At Potager Garden in Constantine, the students will be putting their skills to the test by helping the business to choose appropriate renewable energy technology to heat the new café and plant sales area.
Mark Harris, owner of Potager Garden said: “In the couple of years that we’ve been open to the public we’ve quickly outgrown our café and plant sales area, so were already planning a new building where we wanted to ensure that sustainability was at the very core of our plans. We’re delighted to take part in the Schools for Intelligent Energy Use Project and gain some fresh thinking on the different options for keeping the new building at a comfortable temperature all year round and assess the financial case for exploring the government’s incentive for renewable heat generation which is due to start next spring.”
In Falmouth the specialist overwater drilling and marine construction contractor Fugro-Seacore Ltd is working with students from Cornwall College’s NVQ level 2 Mechanical Engineering course to explore how the business can reduce its energy consumption through behavioural changes and low-energy lighting.
Seacore’s Christian Jermyn said: “We’re excited to be working in partnership with the SIEU project and Cornwall College. This is an excellent opportunity for Fugro-Seacore to be involved with the development of the skills and ideas of the next generation of engineers in this exciting area of industry. We’ve already made some modifications to parts of our seven acre site to reduce unnecessary lighting but we look forward to seeing what other solutions the students put forward to help us further reduce our electricity consumption.”
To present strong cases to encourage their business clients to take their recommendations on board, the students will provide fully costed proposals outlining the initial investment costs, payback periods and the anticipated Carbon Dioxide savings.
Clare Langdon, Senior Project Officer at Community Energy Plus said: “This project really demonstrates the value of embedding sustainability across all areas of education and I hope that some of the participating Cornwall College students will use what they’ve learnt in their future careers. Cornwall is the very first area in the UK to roll out the SIEU programme which really reflects the important role that Cornwall is taking in the region’s growing sustainability sector.”
Cornwall College Camborne’s Level 2 Engineering Programme Manager, Steve McGurk, said: “Working on real-life projects is an excellent way for our vocational course students to improve their project management and analytical skills. The SIEU project is particularly engaging because its success is based on the students leading their own learning experiences and getting feedback from their business clients as well as their lecturers.”