Gap-year student wins Year in Industry award

A
19 year-old gap-year engineering student from Sheffield
has won one of the UK’s
most prestigious industry awards, the EEF/Year in Industry ‘Contribution to the
Business’ award.

Kate
Earnshaw spent a gap year
with Firth Rixson Group, an
engineering company in Sheffield
that produces components for the aerospace, railway and oil and gas industries.

She
led an investigation into the failure rates on several product lines following
a heat treatment process.

Earnshaw not only solved the
problem relating to the failure of parts, but calculated a significant
potential for greater capacity. Her recommended new software system and furnace
has not only saved the company £350,000, but will increase capacity equating to
an extra £12,000 per furnace per day. Her work has also triggered changes to be
carried out at other Firth Rixson
sites.

Earnshaw will now study
aeronautical engineering at Sheffield
University.

The
Year in Industry is a national programme providing high calibre, pre-university
students with experience of real project work in industry, which significantly
enhances their degree and employment prospects.

The
scheme also provides companies with cost-effective access to highly talented
potential graduate recruits, who often bring fresh ideas and initiatives. In
many instances, the students have solved problems that have baffled companies
for many years and saved significant sums of money.

Feedback
shows 86 per cent of company managers say the scheme has had an immediate
impact on their company, and 98 per cent of managers would recommend the scheme.

EEF
director general, Martin Temple, said: "Kate’s achievement highlights the
fresh, innovative thinking that these students can bring to companies, and
shows the potential for engineering to offer a rewarding career to our
brightest and best graduates.

"The
projects undertaken by Year in Industry students put them streets ahead of
their contemporaries in terms of experience within the workplace, while the
companies that offer high quality business placements can reap the rewards with
real bottom line benefits."

Quentin Reade 

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