Powering your future: A career where you can really make a difference
- Credit: CHPV
This week, we will be running a series of "Powering Your Future" stories focused on the fantastic career opportunities in East Anglia's exciting offshore wind industry. Here we speak to Abbey Savage, who has turned her passion into a career thanks to ScottishPower’s Masters scholarship programme.
“Energy is something that you're involved in from when you put the kettle on in the morning to when you plug your phone in at night," says Abbey. "It's so integral to everything we do.”
Wise words from ScottishPower scholar Abbey Savage, who is one of those fortunate people who has managed to turn her passion for the climate and environment into a career where she can really make a difference.
For a number of years, ScottishPower Renewables has been building relationships with universities in its communities, including the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Working together, the aim is to support development of future talent through a joint Masters scholarship programme covering postgraduate studies in a wide range of knowledge areas.
When Abbey found out about the scholarship programme, she jumped at the chance to get involved.
"I'd graduated with a degree in economics and had been working in a finance-based role for two years,” she says.
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“As much as I didn't mind it, I wanted to tie up the things I was interested in personally and make a bigger difference than just what I can do as an individual at home.
“I was looking at lots of different scholarship opportunities and this one just stood out a mile in terms of flexibility. They didn't come in and say, you have to do this module and that module; you were encouraged to learn about climate change, to really promote the industry and to think outside of the box in terms of solutions for renewable energy. There were no limitations.”
A year into the course and with the rumblings of Covid just beginning, Abbey got a call to invite her to join ScottishPower Renewables’ offshore graduate programme once her Masters was complete.
Abbey started on the graduate programme in September 2020 and is just coming to the end of her first placement with the Offshore Development Team – she will het to know the ins and outs of three more teams over the two-year programme.
“Since starting, I've had so many suggestions of different departments to consider – and most of them I didn't even know were a job until I started in the industry.
“I've learned so much within six months, but I think I could stay in this team for a further two years and still learn so much more. Every day's a school day, it’s really exciting.”
At the end of the two years, graduates are offered a position.
“It's nice to have two years to experience everything because you get to know people from different departments and how they all interface – that's a real big benefit.”
So what would Abbey say to anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career in offshore wind?
“I'd say it's a safe bet! There is a place for everyone at the table to provide an overall picture and an outlook as to what the future is going to look like, how to shape it, how to communicate it.
“There's so many different people with different backgrounds in every team, and that's what makes it exciting.”
The closing date for ScottishPower scholarship applications for the 2021-2022 academic year is 2pm, Wednesday, March 31. To apply please visit: http://bit.ly/SPScholarships
MORE FROM SCOTTISHPOWER SCHOLARS
Tim Minshall studied for a Masters in engineering and climate change at the UEA before joining ScottishPower Renewables as a graduate engineer working on the East Anglia ONE execution phase, coordinating construction and taking part in offshore engineering training.
Tim said: “The graduate scheme is an amazing opportunity to really dive into the offshore wind industry. I’ve learnt a huge amount in just one year. I was drawn to wind energy due to the industry’s complexity and the engineering challenges it presents.”
Esmee Thornton completed the scholarship programme and now works for Siemens Gamesa as deputy site manager on the East Anglia ONE windfarm.
Esmee said: “On completing my masters degree at UEA, I knew I wanted to stay in the region as it really is the place to be in the UK for offshore wind, with so many exciting opportunities.
“My role as deputy site manager is just one of 38 in the Siemens Gamesa team. I’d encourage anyone to look at a career in offshore wind, there is such a wide range of roles and every day is different, posing new opportunities, challenges and chances for development.”
Find out more about getting your foot in the door and helping generate the clean green energy we all need for a greener, zero-carbon future that will benefit future generations for years to come in the Powering Your Future supplement, produced in partnership with ScottishPower Renewables.