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.
Graham Askew, Simon Walker, BBSRC (Jan 2018), £699,781
Jennifer Tomlinson, Royal Society (Jan 2018), £512,801
Alex O'Neill and colleagues in Chemistry, BBSRC (Nov 2017), £431,865
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
Ralf Richter, David Brockwell, Eric Hewitt, Jessica Kwok, Emanuele Paci and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £600,000
Eric Blair, Adrian Whitehouse, Nicola Stonehouse, Alison Baker, Richard Bayliss, Joan Boyes, Ryan Seipke, Sally Boxall and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £376,000
Stefan Kepinski, Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso, Tom Bennett, Michelle Peckham, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £331,000
Roman Tuma, Lars Jeuken, Paul Millner, Sheena Radford, Peter Stockley and MAPS/FMH, BBSRC (Jun 2017), £222,000
Vas Ponnambalam, Darren Tomlinson, Stephen Wheatcroft, BHF (May 2017), £107,878
Graham Askew in collaboration with Bangor University, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £477,383
Stephen Muench, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £132,945
Nic Stonehouse, MRC (Mar 2017), £906,341
Bill Kunin, Steve Sait, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £602,831
Adrian Goldman, EU (Mar 2017), £546,576
Sheena Radford, Wellcome Trust (Mar 2017), £1,836,482
Jamie Johnston, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Beatrice Filippi, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Tom Bennett, Royal Society (Mar 2017), £15,000
Ryan Seipke, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £52,116
Mary O'Connell, BBSRC (Feb 2017), £46,986
Hannah Dugdale, NERC (Feb 2017), £504,138
Anastasia Zhuravleva, EPSRC (Jan 2017), £100,792
Richard Bayliss, Cancer Research UK (Jan 2017), £1,600,000
John Barr, EU (Jan 2017), £339,000
Mark Harris, Royal Society (Jan 2017), £250,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Jan 2017), £105,000
Alex Breeze, Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund (Jan 2017), £180,000
Alison Dunn, NERC (Dec 2016), £18,000
Lisa Collins, BBSRC (Dec 2016), £1,681,835
Brendan Davies, Leverhulme Trust (Dec 2016), £247,555
Alan Benson, Mark Drinkhill, Ed White, British Heart Foundaion (Dec 2016), £217,223
Adrian Goldman, Royal Society (Dec 2016), £82,999
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, RCUK (Nov 2016), £484,172
Lisa Roberts, Alex Breeze, Brendan Davies, Timothy Devinney, Oliver Harlen, Joseph Holden, Anthea Hucklesby, Pamela Jones, Philip Mellor, Wellcome Trust (Nov 2016), £119,343
Katie Field, Rank Prize Funds (Nov 2016), £20,000
Jessica Kwok, Royal Society (Nov 2016), £14,948
John Ladbury, Cancer Research UK (Oct 2016), £4,250
Miriam Wittmann, Martin Stacey, Edward Vital, Lupus UK
(Oct 2016), £34,010
Valerie Speirs, NC3Rs
(Oct 2016), £90,000
Nicola Stonehouse, Morgan Herod, David Rowlands, BBSRC
(Sep 2016), £436,424
Joseph Cockburn, Wellcome Trust
(Sep 2016), £100,000
John Barr, Public Health England
(Sep 2016), £94,471
Helen Miller, DSM Nutritional Products A/S
(Sep 2016), £54,680
Steven Clapcote, Vitaflo International Ltd
(Sep 2016), £39,285
Juan Fontana Jordan De Urries
, Royal Society
(Sep 2016), £21,793
Jing Li, Sarah Calaghan, Mark Drinkhill, British Heart Foundation
(Sep 2016), £117,585