After completing his Renewable Energy MSc this year (2023), alumnus Laurie Cusick jumped on a flight to Northern Peru to volunteer as an intern in the renewable energy team at EcoSwell, gaining valuable work experience and contributing to an impactful project.
Laurie shares why he volunteered for EcoSwell, and how the internship and his Cranfield experience have shaped his future career prospects.
“Since finishing my thesis, and the academic year at Cranfield, I very quickly jumped on a flight to Northern Peru to work as a volunteer intern for a fantastic non-governmental organisation (NGO) called EcoSwell.
“I joined their renewable energy team, primarily working on a project responsible for the design, installation, and handover of a solar PV and battery storage system to provide an uninterruptible power supply for a highly relied-upon medical centre in the region of Talara.
“It was a valuable experience with a responsible organisation that treats the development of interns with importance, despite needing to meet project deliverables despite many constraints. It’s also encouraged for interns to spend plenty of time on great experiences and activities like surfing, fishing, and exploring to name a few!
“It is an experience that I would really recommend to current and future graduates, with an opportunity to learn and gain both professional and life experience.
Laurie volunteering with EcoSwell
Reflecting on my Cranfield experience
“The course was an intense year throughout, but it was an enjoyable one all the same where you have the opportunity to learn lots about the renewable energy industry, as well as relevant innovations and technologies. My supervisors and lecturers were really helpful over the year and I also had the opportunity to work with some recognised organisations in the group project and my thesis.
“I’ve learned an awful lot about energy and sustainability, including less conventional study topics such as legislation and policy, and economic strategy for a just and secure energy transition. However, nobody can take everything in permanently and I’d say a big skill I developed over the near was an ability to research new topics that I’m not familiar with, and gain an understanding within a short amount of time. This is a key skill for the course, particularly the taught modules which are only a fortnight long.
“I’ve certainly taken a lot of confidence and self-belief from this year. I was slightly skeptical of my ability to complete the course on the first day, but from dedicating plenty of time and utilising the resources on offer. I have a lot more faith in my ability to succeed and genuinely make a positive impact, thanks to my experiences over the last year.
Looking forward to the future
“I’m now preparing to start my new role at RED Engineering Design, an organisation I first came into contact with through one of the careers fairs at Cranfield. Lots of the topics that I discussed throughout the recruitment process were things I learned about throughout the course, and I’m really looking forward to applying what I’ve taken from my MSc in a work environment.
“Over the next 6 months I’m really keen to showcase to my new colleagues what I’m capable of, and establish myself within the organisation. I’m also keen to continue to learn more about the industry work on larger scale technical projects, and continue to develop my skills. I’m hoping to be able to speak a bit of Spanish to some of my friends from the course by the time graduation comes around!”
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