Charlotte Fayle, a 21-year-old Biology student has been crowned the "UK's Most Enterprising Student" at the Shell STEP National Final awards for developing an energy reduction service which is set to generate a £300,000 turnover for her host business.
Jonathan Hutchinson, a 22-year-old Geography student, was named runner-up for generating up to 30% cuts in his host company's energy policy.
The Shell Step placement programme provides undergraduates and recent graduates with relevant and meaningful work experience through tailored eight week placements with small and medium-sized businesses across the UK. Around 600 students are placed every year and there have been around 23,000 work experience placements since the programme began in 1986.
Charlotte said: "I'm over the moon to have won this award from Shell! I had no previous business experience before I did the placement and never thought I would have achieved what I did. The opportunity to gain a new understanding of business and develop my communication skills has been invaluable and I feel sure it will help me when I move into the world of work."
The University of Leeds Careers Centre manages the scheme in West and North Yorkshire and supported Charlotte and Jonathan through the whole process. Bob Gilworth, Director of the Careers Centre, said: "We were delighted to get two Leeds students through to the national final, and overjoyed that they took first and second places. Not only have Charlotte and Jonathan gained fantastic experience, they have also made a real impact on two local businesses who are thrilled with their contributions.
"As far as we know, this is the first time that a single University has provided both the national winner and runner-up in the same year."
The awards ceremony in London featured keynote speeches from David Lammy MP, Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, and Wes Streeting, President of the National Union of Students.
Lammy said: "I would like to congratulate both our most enterprising young students and the Shell STEP programme which has led the way in providing opportunities for undergraduates in small businesses for over 20 years. These students have shown that Britain's young people have got talent and are worth backing.
"Internships are a great way to set students on the path to success offering them the chance to get a taste of a type of work they might not previously have considered as well as building the sorts of skills and experience that prospective employers really value."
Robert Cardis, Managing Director of RCE Services UK Ltd, said: "The Shell Step placement far exceeded our expectations and we're delighted that Charlotte has been recognised for the fantastic contribution she made to the business. She began with an open brief and, through showing great initiative, managed to secure an opportunity for a contract worth £250,000 by the end of the placement. She is destined for great things and we wish her all the best in whatever career she pursues."
James Smith, Chairman of Shell UK, said: "Work experience can help students stand out in the job market. Charlotte and Jonathan have clearly made the most of this chance. Their go-ahead style on their projects have been good for them and their host businesses. We wish them the best of luck with their future career."
This year, people who graduated from a UK university in 2008 and those that were about to graduate in 2009 were also invited to apply in recognition of the tough job market create by the recession.
Darren Tomlinson, Michelle Peckham, Megan Wright, BBSRC (Jun 2018), £150,443
Simon Walker, Royal Society (Jun 2018), £337,601
Tom Thirkell, N8 Agrifood (Jun 2018), £14,870
Stephen Muench with Glaxo SmithKline & UCB Celltech, BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award (Apr 2018), £480,225
Steve Clapcote, BBSRC (Apr 2018), £443,072
Helen Miller, Innovate UK (Apr 2018), £999,960
Elisabetta Groppelli, David Rowlands & Stanley Lemon (University of North Carolina), Medical Research Foundation Fellowship (Apr 2018), £293,494
Nikesh Patel, Medical Research Foundation fellowship (Apr 2018), £290,976
Graham Askew with colleagues in Hull and Liverpool, BBSRC (Apr 2018), £150,498
Andrew Macdonald, Neil Ranson & Richard Foster, Kidney Research UK (Apr 2018), £82,821
Jessica Kwok & Ralf Richter, Leverhulme Trust (Apr 2018), £298,273
Julie Aspden, Royal Society (Apr 2018), £20,000
Liz Duncan, Royal Society (Mar 2018), £14,602
Alex O'Neill & Ryan Seipke, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £45,489
Jim Deuchars, Royal Society (Feb 2018), £16,300
Stefan Kepinski & Netta Cohen, Leverhulme Trust (Feb 2018), £320,387
Lisa Collins, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £49,950
Alison Baker, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Lars Jeuken, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Nikita Gamper, BBSRC (Feb 2018), £30,000
Scott Bowen, Leducq Foundation Grant (Feb 2018), £28,470
Jessica Kwok and Ronaldo Ichiyama, International Spinal Research Trust (Feb 2018), £94,450
Alex O'Neill, Oxford Drug Design (Jan 2018), £86,098
Dave Lewis and Colleagues in South Africa, HEFCE Global Challenge Research (Jan 2018), £48,000
Sarah Calaghan, Ed White, John Colyer, Isuru Jayasinghe, BHF (Jan 2018), £128,308
Christine Foyer and Alison Baker, HEFCE GCRF Grant (Jan 2018), £71,158
Alison Baker, Yun Yung Gong and Lindsay Stringer and ICRISAT India, HEFCE GCRF Grant (Jan 2018), £27,000
Graham Askew, Simon Walker, BBSRC (Jan 2018), £699,781
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society (Jan 2018), £512,801
Alison Dunn, NERC (Dec 2017), £18,000
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society-Research Fellows Enhancement Award (Dec 2017), £94,681
Helen Miller, AB AGri Grant (Dec 2017), £73,600
Simon Walker, Royal Society Enhancement Award (Dec 2017), £10,000
Carrie Ferguson, Bryan Taylor, Harry Rossiter, The Physiological Society (Dec 2017), £7,392
Ralf Richter, Royal Society (Dec 2017), £6,000
Christine Foyer, British Council Newton Fund (Dec 2017), £49,840
Adrian Whitehouse and colleagues in School of Chemistry and University of Liverpool, MRC (Nov 2017), £622,319
Michelle Peckham, Neil Ransom, MRC (Nov 2017), £495,159
Dave Lewis, British Council India (Nov 2017), £22,540
Hannah Dugdale, Royal Society (Nov 2017), £15,000
Elton Zeqiraj, Royal Society (Nov 2017), £15,000
Shaunna Burke, Cancer Research UK Innovation Grant (Nov 2017), £20,000
Alex O'Neill and colleagues in Chemistry, BBSRC (Nov 2017), £431,865
Jessica Kwok, Wings for Life (Nov 2017), £87,365
Tom Bennett, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £523,679
Neil Ranson, Darren Tomlinson, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £494,318
Nikita Gamper, BBSRC (Oct 2017), £490,426
Amanda Bretman and colleagues from UEA, NERC (Oct 2017), £430,886
Juan Fontana, Rosetrees Trust consumables grant (Oct 2017), £22,500
Helen Miller, DSM Nutritional Products AG (Sep 2017), £69,988
Neil Ranson, Juan Fontana, Mark Harris, Michelle Peckham, Ralf Richter, Peter Stockley, Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle and colleagues in Engineering, FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Sep 2017), £418,000
Jamie Johnston, Physiological Society (Sep 2017), £10,000
Frank Sobott, Adrian Goldman, Mark Harris, Andrew Macdonald, Stephen Muench, Sheena Radford and colleagues in FMH and MAPS, Wellcome Trust Equipment Call (Aug 2017), £415,000