Reading student is 'Most Enterprising Student 2005'
Release Date 08 September 2005
University of Reading student Mark Chatterton is celebrating after winning the Shell STEP Award for the 'Most Enterprising Student' in the central southern England area. Mark scooped the award at a ceremony at the University on Monday 5 September for his work at Surrey-based Arcolectric Ltd. The firm chose Mark, who studies Electronic Engineering, to work on the challenging summer project. In just eight weeks, Mark, 20 managed to design and build a prototype mains rocker switch incorporating a low-cost microcontroller to count mains frequency cycles and disconnect the switch after a pre-determined time. The project has resulted in immediate benefits for Arcolectric, with one manufacturer expressing an interest in purchasing 750,000 units of the product he created. Winner Mark said: "I am thrilled to have come this far in a nationally-recognised competition. I have learned so much this summer, which I am confident will stand me in good stead when I apply for jobs in the future." Presenting the award, Dr Virginie Ruiz, chair of the judges, added: "Congratulations to Mark for winning this award. Achieving what he has in just eight weeks is no mean feat, and I'm confident this will impress future employers." Craig Ollier, 21, and studying Management and Business Administration at Reading, was 'Highly Commended' for his work with @UK. He had to develop a business plan to expand the company into other areas of the world. Shell STEP is a national programme arranging structured summer work placements for students at small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). It matches undergraduates to SMEs with specific development projects, in order to develop the students' workplace skills. While at the host company, students can put the theory they've learnt at university into practice. As part of the programme support process, students learn about the small business sector and have the opportunity to develop many core skills, such as time and project management, which increases their employability significantly. In the process, the projects can also increase the growth and innovation potential of the host business. Most small businesses involved are convinced by Shell STEP of the value a student project can deliver, with 96% of last year's SME participants stating that they would offer further opportunities to students in the future. Mark beat 12 other local finalists, and he will now go forward to the Shell STEP Regional Final the Shell Centre in London on Wednesday 14 September. More than 1,000 STEP projects took place over the summer this year in the UK overall. End Notes for editors 1) Shell STEP is the UK's leading creator of tailored work placements for students in small to medium-sized businesses. Shell STEP's eight week summer placements help students apply their knowledge and make them accountable for a meaningful project with a genuine impact on the host company's bottom line. Shell STEP students come from a wide range of degree disciplines and a national network of skilled agents match them to projects based on personality and capability, as well as academic background. Placements are structured in advance, with inductions and assessments to support all those taking part. An annual Shell STEP competition recognises the UK's 'Most Enterprising Student' and is open to all students who undertake a placement. Shell STEP students undertake a range of projects, including creating marketing strategies; improving production methods; creating websites; environmental audits; setting up IT systems. To date, Shell STEP has delivered more than 20,000 work placement projects. 2) Shell created STEP in 1986 and continues to support the programme UK-wide. Shell would like to thank the DfES, DTI and other regional partners for their support. In Scotland, Shell STEP is also supported by the Scottish Executive, Scottish Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund. 3) To be eligible for Shell STEP, students should be studying full-time at a UK higher education institution and be in their second or penultimate year of study. Independent businesses that have fewer than 250 employees are eligible to take part in Shell STEP. 4) Step Enterprise Ltd provides the UK management team for Shell STEP. SEL is expanding the opportunities available to both businesses and students by providing the means to access a variety of undergraduate and graduate placement schemes. Further information about Shell STEP and the Shell STEP Awards is available at http://www.step.org.uk. For media enquiries, please contact: Susan Matos, T: 0118 378 8214, E: firstname.lastname@example.org Craig Hillsley, T: 0118 378 7388, E: email@example.com