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Viktoryia Parkhamovich

Viktoryia Parkhamovich

I’m an Aircraft Engineering Apprentice at GE Caledonian and I took part in the first Fuel Change Challenge.

I got involved with Fuel Change during the pandemic, I was on furlough, so was at home a lot and wasn’t too busy. My manager had mentioned to me this voluntary challenge and it seemed interesting, coming up with solutions from your own ideas so I decided to take part in it and was chosen to be the teams Leader.

Our solution included planting and harvesting seaweed around Scotland. At the start of the challenge, we investigated the Coral reefs of Australia and looked at how bleached they were, they were dying.

Without the ocean and its habitats, humanity cannot survive. This is when we found out that seaweed could be used to help with the bleaching. Seaweed has the fantastic property of protecting reefs from strong under water currents, could be home to the fish and most importantly contribute towards lowering the CO2 in air, and therefore helping with acidification.

Seaweed needs CO2, sun and shallow waters to survive. It can take up 20 times more CO2 than a single tree. So, it was a no brainer for us to take up this idea further.

We had found that there are already companies trying to make this idea a reality. We hit the bottleneck when talking to marine scientists about harvesting of seaweed, however they mentioned that with more financial support it could be possible to overcome that problem.

The Fuel Change Challenge is one of the greatest things I have done in my apprenticeship.

I have really widened my network across different industries and have met some of the most interesting, motivating people there are out there. It has shaped me into a better person and made me think prior to making any choices. After researching how much climate change is a problem, I decided to make changes in my personal, working and social life. Nothing huge, I didn’t buy an electric car or that, but I have started eating less meat, take reusable cups/bottles everywhere possible and talking about climate change more to family and friends. It helped with my awareness of the things happening around the world and I couldn’t be more thankful for it. However, one of the most important advantages I got out from participating in Fuel Change is that I had increased my leadership skills, communication and task completion targets. I had to be very organised and make sure that myself and my team were on top of our tasks which will help me in my career.

The Challenge programme will help me with my career because it gave me the desired experience needed within my role including time keeping, goal achievement and teamwork.

I’d recommend the Fuel Change Challenge because it’s an experience like no other. The skill sets you will gain from participating in such challenge is golden. It has helped me become better at my work and personal life. It is a great way to test your capabilities and what you can do, the sky is the limit but there are no limits within your ideas.

The best bit of the challenge was socialising and meeting so many people. Speaking to very intelligent and interesting people and finding out more about the world and other businesses and what they are doing towards the Net Zero transition.

If I could sum up my experience in three words, it would be; fantastic, extraordinary and free.