Neil scoops award with his feasibility study for Valhalla Brewery wind turbine

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The top Shetland STEP student this summer is Neil Laurenson from Unst, 21, who produced a feasibility study for a heat pump and wind turbine at Valhalla Brewery’s new site at Saxa Vord.

This year’s programme was funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, European Regional Development Fund, and STEP Enterprise Ltd to support and encourage undergraduate work experience in local industry.

Four local companies hosted students during the summer, with specific project work to assist each business and to give the students relevant and meaningful work experience. The eight-week programme concluded with presentations given by each of the six students to a judging panel and guests at Islesburgh Community Centre on Friday.

Prizes were awarded by Highlands & Islands Enterprise to the three most effective projects and presentations, with joint second place going to Jordan Leask (Multicat workboat project for Malakoff Ltd) and Jamie Hatch (development of work procedures for Malakoff).

The judges were impressed with the quality of work presented by all the students on the programme, with the three others being Shona Jack (marketing plan for Central Garage, Brae), Lizzie Nicolson (company website phase two with AB Associates) and Stuart Thomson (IT protection and security audit with AB Associates).

Neil, who has recently completed his third year studying physics with environmental science at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, said: “I’m really pleased to have won as the other STEP projects and reports were all of a high standard.

“I have learned a vast amount during this time about the renewable energy industry which could be very useful for future employment. I would like to thank Sonny Priest and all the staff at Valhalla Brewery, my fellow students and Train Shetland for their help.”

Mr Priest, the managing director of Valhalla Brewery, said: “We were very impressed with Neil’s hard work and enthusiasm for the project, which highlighted how much energy we use and how we can go forward to significantly reduce our running costs.”

Vocational training manager Margaret Simpson said: “All the students had produced amazing work for their host companies and thanks were due to all the host employers and judging panel for their support of the programme.”

The scheme will be running again in 2011 and will be open to companies employing less than 250 employees. Early enquiries from companies to discuss potential projects for next summer will be most welcome. Contact (01595) 743743 or email: for more details


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