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Ellis Folan

Ellis Folan

I’m a Project Management Apprentice for BAE Systems and I took part in the first Fuel Change Challenge.

I got involved with Fuel Change because it was a very exciting and worthwhile initiative. It was a great opportunity for me to work on a different project out with my company’s usual project portfolio and co-lead on a project, and gain valuable experience early within my career.

My team had the unique idea of combining two companies’ challenges to have a wider benefit spread. The idea involved using Spirit Aero Systems end of life aircrafts which are currently sitting in masses in graveyards across the world, and repurposing them to manufacture small vertical wind turbines. These would be located on one of Scottish Power’s sites to help them achieve their target of having one of their sites reach net zero. These turbines will be producing clean, ready to use energy and have the opportunity to be located in places all over the world – a key location being on roadsides and being powered through the passing cars.

Since the end of the Challenge we’ve been progressing this project slowly in parallel to the work within our apprenticeship. We are currently designing our turbine and working closely with BAE’s engineering function to ensure a high quality output of the turbine will be implemented and manufactured when we reach the operational phase.

The Fuel Change experience has given me numerous opportunities within my company and also externally. Having the opportunity to participate in the venture labs weekend and working with experts and entrepreneurs across the world is one of them. Another benefit from the Challenge was improving my presentation skills through the different Sprints and taking part in the Question Panel at the Arnold Clark innovation Centre. In addition, the opportunity to initiate a project, which will provide a better, healthier and more positive future for everyone, is a great benefit to have been part of.

The Challenge programme will help me in my future career as it has given me great stakeholder engagement for so early on in my career. It’s given me real life experience of managing a project which I hope to do later in my career in BAE Systems, so having experience within cost, schedule and management of a project is a great experience to have already.

I would recommend the Challenge to others in my industry as it allows you to look at a different sector of business. There is a significant and purposeful output that would come from this movement.

The best part of the Challenge for me was meeting everyone within the Fuel Change community, hearing about the other team’s initiatives, and learning from each other to create a positive future together.

If I could describe my experience at Fuel Change in three words, it would be; stimulating, encouraging and purposeful.