Lifelong leadership learning in Cumbria

Workington students gain new skills developing sustainable heating

Students from St Joseph’s Catholic High School in Workington have spent the week formulating ideas on how to develop sustainable heating systems for buildings on the Sellafield site.

The students took part in the Elements work experience programme organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance for Sellafield Ltd. Elements is designed to enable young people to explore a range of interests whilst working collaboratively with business professionals and industry experts from the Sellafield supply chain.

Ten students spent the week at Lakes College tackling the problem in two teams with advice and guidance from esponsive, TÜV SÜD, KBR, Jacobs, NNL, and Lakes College, Sellafield staff. Each team allocated roles covering areas such as engineering, planning, finance and project management and produced exciting ideas on how to help the Sellafield site to move away from the current gas-powered steam heating system.  

Both groups chose air source heat pumps as the most sustainable heating solution for Sellafield offices and other commercial buildings, with one team also opting for wind turbines to generate extra power.

As part of their work the Elements team had to consider alternative energy sources, why change is important, how heat would be distributed, installation and construction and the business case in terms of cost, savings and benefits. At the end of their working week the students made a presentation to ‘sell ‘ their concept to Sellafield Ltd.

Organisations working with the students included Responsive, TÜV SÜD, KBR, Jacobs, NNL, and Lakes College. CforLP also supported the students and business partners throughout the week in developing their ideas and solutions.

Nicola Woolley – Secondary Programme Manager at CforLP explains: “The students had a terrific week learning first hand some of the challenges involved in real-life projects, the skills required to bring a complex project to life, and the behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace. It is a huge boost for the students which would be impossible to deliver without the support of local businesses.”

Elements programmes provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills including teamwork, problem solving, collaboration, innovation, planning and communication. They also meet and interact with industry experts, gaining exposure to a range of businesses, jobs, skill sets and careers.

By participating in the programme students develop their confidence, aspirations and leadership skills, and gain a greater understanding of the range of disciplines and job roles in a workplace,

They get to experience project management and engineering processes through real work scenarios, build greater understanding of the workplace environment, and develop skills and behaviours needed to succeed in the workplace.

The programmes at the same time give students insights into the range of local businesses in the area and careers available, including less visible jobs and roles.

“Elements gives you a wider view of what you can do”

“I’ve learned more about different jobs and I’ve gained confidence”

Lifelong Leadership Learning in Cumbria