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SME work experience worth £4.3million

Date 12 Oct 2007
Author The Editor

An Edinburgh University undergraduate was crowned the UK's most enterprising student this week after he created a revenue stream worth an estimated £4.3million during his summer work experience placement.

Iain Whiteside picked up his award and a prize of £1,000 at the Shell Step National Final in London on Tuesday. A panel of judges chose him as the scheme's overall winner for his exceptional achievement during the short placement period.

Iain, who studies Computer Science and Mathematics at Edinburgh University, took part in the Shell Step summer placement scheme, which matches students with small and medium sized firms seeking specialist skills for a specific project. He spent the summer working for Edinburgh-based Martin Energy Limited working on the company's core service, Flexitricity, which provides balancing and reserve services to the National Grid. Iain created a valuable new service, the "Demand Buyback System" and successfully installed it at its first site. The new addition is estimated to generate revenue of £4.3million in the next 24 months.

James Smith, Chairman of Shell UK, said: "Shell Step can bring benefits both to students and businesses, and Iain's achievements are a testament to this. Like Iain, students get access to knowledge beyond that found in textbooks, while 97% of the businesses that took part this year fed back that the placement will have a positive impact on their firm's future. Iain is a worthy winner of this year's award and I wish him every success in the future."

Mark Batho, Director of Lifelong Learning for the Scottish Government, said: "This is fantastic and we want more. We are very supportive of the Shell Step Programme as it is aligned with our Government policies in skill strategy. It reflects well on Scottish universities and businesses and it is important that it is carried across to university students across the country."

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