Coast Explorer interns – inauguration and inspiration
Melanie Rogers, Local Communications Officer at Vattenfall
09 December 2016
The Coast Explorer interns were a great help at the inauguration of our Kentish Flats Extension windfarm project, supported us in inspiring schoolchildren on educational trips, and more.
We’re delighted to have got this important new strand of the Coast Explorer programme off the ground, in partnership with P1 Marine Foundation, The Crown Estate and Canterbury City Council.
Since 2013, we’ve been working together to educate schoolchildren about the importance of the coastal environment and how renewable energy can be a sustainable part of that. This year, we launched the Coast Explorer internship scheme to raise awareness of careers in the marine environment amongst university students and graduates.
Each of the partners provided the interns with a range of opportunities to develop their skills and experience. Here at Vattenfall, the programme kicked off with the inauguration of our Kentish Flats Extension offshore windfarm on 6 June 2016. It was fantastic that the interns could get involved in this exciting event, which brought together some of the many different people and organisations involved during development.
Stakeholder engagement is a big part of what we do at Vattenfall. So, the interns helped us welcome local residents and businesses, local MPs and councillors, people from the fishing industry and government officials. Plus, of course, they travelled out on board MV Balmoral to see the ribbon being cut and turbines in action. This was a big moment for us, following years of community engagement and construction activity.
During their time at Vattenfall, the interns also accompanied schoolchildren on educational trips in the coastal environment. They got involved in a range of interactive activities to build the children’s understanding of our coastline, renewable energy and climate change.
In addition, the interns worked on research projects with our environmental team and developed their Geographical Information Services (GIS) skills.
The project work with the interns was very inspiring, sparking for them an interest in unexplored fields of the business and even gave ideas for future career options – exactly what the Coast Explorer career programme was designed to do”Dr Eva Philipp, Vattenfall
Stuart explored the environmental impact of underwater offshore wind infrastructure, looking at how turbine structures can form artificial reefs and at fishery exclusive zones. Paula investigated environmental aspects considered in decommissioning a large scale windfarm.
Alex supported Geographical Information Services (GIS) activities at our London office, gaining insights into the importance of data collection, verification and management. The exact positions of all operational assets must be readily accessible throughout our company, e.g. so if an emergency repair is needed, the repair team can quickly get accurate data about infrastructure before works begin, most importantly for their safety, but also to keep repair costs down.
Alex digitised as-built positions, which we then incorporated into our spatial database of operational assets, ready for use. A big thank you to Alex for his time in assisting with this important piece of work.
We’re pleased with the feedback from the interns, who welcomed the experience and the introduction into professional networking. We’ll also use their input to try to make next year’s programme even better!