Student wins business contribution award

Owen Graham, a 19-year-old gap-year student from Dublin, has won The Year in
Industry Contribution to the Business Award, sponsored by the Engineering
Employers’ Federation.

Working with the National Grid Transco Company, Graham spent a year at
Network Mapping investigating alternative methods for referencing digital
photography captured during aerial survey work.

The scheme is designed to enable high calibre pre-university students to
experience real project work in industry.

During his placement, Graham devised an automatic technique that will halve
the cost of the company’s mapping procedures and reduce processing time.

Other participating companies this year included Bayer Cropscience, Dstl,
Unitek Displays, BNFL, Kawasaki Precision Machinery, Dara and British Energy.

Anne Minto, HR director at Centrica and chair of the judging panel, said:
"The companies that offer high-quality business placements for these young
people are now reaping the rewards. By providing challenging placement and
excellent support, these young people have repaid them with wonderful

Students earn a salary, usually between £8,500 to £11,000, while gaining
industrial experience to help with their degree and employment prospects. Some
26 per cent of the intake go on to gain a first class honours degree, compared
with the national average of just 10 per cent.

Feedback shows 86 per cent of company managers say the scheme has had an
immediate impact on their organisation and 98 per cent would recommend it. Many
companies view the placements as a 12-month interview process.


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