Posted on 22 October 2002
Third-year student Danielle Holden, who is studying for a degree in the Environment Department, took first prize in the national STEP scheme – winning £1,000.STEP is the Shell Technology Enterprise Programme which places students in industry for two months to deliver a self-contained projects which will benefit the business they are with.
Danielle saved a textiles firm at Accrington in Lancashire £64,000 a year by designing a simple tilting system which allowed them to empty drums of chemicals completely. She saved another £6,000 by working out how they could pack skips with waste more efficiently and use fewer of them; and she organised ways to save empty drums going to waste.
Fellow student David Clarke, who is reading politics and economic history, received a judges' commendation at the national finals for his project which saved York retailers Bob Trotter Cycles both time and money. The shop had increased its sales space and needed to save space and money on stock; David showed staff how to use their new electronic ordering and stock control system, saving the business £4,000 a year and changing the culture of the company. David won £500.
Both students were treated to a dinner on the 25th floor of the Shell building in London before the awards ceremony and to a tour of the House of Commons the next day.
This is the first year that the University of York has offered participation in STEP to the businesses of York and North Yorkshire. Along with David six other students undertook placements with local businesses, all of which were regarded as successful or very successful by their hosts. Projects ranged from web page design to developing strategies to comply with new environmental legislation. "We have been very pleased with the benefits that our students have been able to deliver to local businesses in such a short time" says Andrew Ferguson, who organised the University's placements, "STEP is an important element in a whole range of initiatives we are taking forward to build on the University's contribution to the regional economy. We are sure that this year's outstanding individual successes will help to demonstrate this, with real businesses gaining real benefit from bright, motivated students ".