Coast Explorer internships off to a strong start
Sabrina Taseer, Projects Manager at the P1 Marine Foundation
02 December 2016
We’re delighted with the feedback from our first Coast Explorer interns on the experience and insights they gained during their time with The Crown Estate, Vattenfall, Canterbury City Council and P1 Marine Foundation.
The Coast Explorer internship scheme is designed to raise awareness of career opportunities in the marine environment and provide young people with a unique chance to experience different roles across the sector.
The first six interns included both university students and graduates from a range of backgrounds, all interested in careers in the marine environment.
The UK’s diverse marine industries employ nearly 90,000 people, in areas including leisure, naval, commercial and offshore renewable energy”
Over a four-month period, each of the Coast Explorer partners provided the interns with opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge, working in specialist sectors of the marine industry. These included marine ecology, renewable energy, beach monitoring and community engagement.
Here at P1 Marine Foundation, we created and coordinated the programme and provided the interns with opportunities linked to our Coast Explorer education programme. Since 2013, this has helped more than 2,000 schoolchildren improve their understanding of the marine and coastal environment and renewable energy.
The interns developed lesson plans on climate change, supported by P1 Marine Foundation, Vattenfall and Canterbury City Council. They then successfully ran interactive, outdoor sessions with groups of primary school pupils.
The marine and coastal environment faces serious threats, including pollution, loss of biodiversity and ocean acidification. So, it’s important that we prepare the next generation to conserve and protect it for the future”Sabrina Taseer
Excitingly, one of the interns, Paula, also developed an idea for a marine environment careers event for London students, Blue Future. We were so impressed by Paula’s proposal that she went on to join P1 Marine Foundation as a volunteer, researching and developing the event. The first Blue Future event will be held at the Greenwich Maritime Centre in February 2017.
In addition, one of the interns, Stuart, engaged with over 1,000 children and families through the Powerboat P1 race event in Cardiff in August. He helped us share information about local marine wildlife through interactive activities and raise awareness of threats such as marine litter.
As a result of Coast Explorer, three interns were offered positions in the marine environment. All the interns commented positively on the programme, with their highlights including:
- Gaining insights into different career paths and opportunities for the future.
- Developing transferable skills, including communication, time management, research and presenting.
- Learning about marine policy, species identification, environmental scoping, impact analysis and community outreach.
- Professional networking with people already working in the marine environment.
- Being made to feel like a full-time employee – welcomed and supported by staff.
- Seeing how different companies work and the practicalities of roles in areas like Geographical Information Services (GIS).
- Completing research projects and delivering presentations.
The interns also gave us feedback that we’re drawing on in planning next year’s programme – showcasing career opportunities for young people linked with our coasts and seas.