This summer, Celtic Renewables had a Saltire Scholar join the company for the second year. Rebecca Woodward is a student at Strathclyde University who is about to go into the 5th and final year of an integrated master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She spent the summer as a manufacturing intern at Celtic Renewables – below she talks all about her internship experience.
You joined Celtic Renewables through the Saltire Scholar Internship Programme. What is this programme?
RW: The Saltire Scholar Internship Programme is a way for penultimate year students at Scottish universities to get fully funded internships at companies in Scotland and around the world. The programme is very competitive, so to get in I had to apply in writing and complete an interview for the candidate pool before then being able to apply to internships.
What made you want to apply for the programme?
RW: I really wanted to get an internship because having work experience is so important – especially as jobs get more and more competitive. I believe having practical experience will be invaluable in helping me stand out for applying to graduate jobs in the future, and the experience itself will make transitioning from education to industry easier. The Saltire Scholar Internship Programme seemed like a great opportunity to gain experience and to build my professional network with colleagues during the internship and with other Saltire Scholars.
After getting into the candidate pool, what made you specifically want to apply for Celtic Renewables?
RW: Renewables is an industry I am passionate about, so working at Celtic Renewables looked like an amazing opportunity to learn more about the field and how things work. The fact that it is a pilot plant was interesting to me, to see a new process and the different issues and problem-solving required. I also preferred the idea of a smaller company where I could get the opportunity to talk to everyone working in different aspects of the company and be able to walk around the whole plant, getting an understanding of how the process works from start to finish.
You are a manufacturing intern. What does this position entail?
RW: The main thing I have been working on is creating a maintenance plan for all the equipment at the plant. Seeing what everything looks like in real life, as opposed to the diagrams I see in my lectures at Uni, has been really interesting for me. I’ve been able to see and help carry out some maintenance tasks. I had a great experience in researching and delivering a presentation on condition monitoring to everyone. I’ve had people show me around everything and look at the bits of equipment, so I have been getting a good idea of the whole plant.
What is your favourite thing about working at Celtic Renewables?
RW: I have to say the people and the culture in general – everyone is so nice and it’s very easy to talk to them, everyone is extremely helpful. They’ve made me feel really welcome and part of the team. I’ve had lots of people take me on tours around the plant where I learn something new every time, and everyone’s always more than happy to answer all my questions.
Overall, what has your experience at Celtic Renewables been like?
RW: It’s been amazing! As I said, everyone is so friendly; the atmosphere is great. Getting to see how different things I’ve only studied in theory work in practice has been interesting. I’ve enjoyed learning as much as I can from walking around matching the P&IDs to the process and from watching recordings of and sitting in on meetings. Working on a maintenance plan for the site has allowed me to develop my understanding of all the equipment used and how the process all fits together.
With one year of university left, do you know what direction you would like to go in after graduating?
RW: Yes, after I graduate, I would like to work in the renewables industry or the whisky industry. Talking to people here has been very useful for that as many have worked in both industries and have told me a bit about how their career has developed. The experience has been a lot of fun but will also be great to have for applying to graduate jobs and placements in my final year at Uni.
What is one thing you do in your day-to-day life to be more sustainable?
RW: I try and use public transport as much as I can. Being under 22 in Scotland, I still get to use buses for free which makes it much easier.