A team of Apprentices working at aerospace engineering company Leonardo have just completed their first sustainable energy efficiency project that has been so effective, it is set to be rolled out in the company’s labs at Crewe Toll in Edinburgh.

The team comprising apprentices Samuel Ramsay, Marina Hendren, Scout Horan, Sam Morton and Daniel Friel, conducted a study in the Receiver Lab in Edinburgh, to investigate the potential to reduce energy consumption on site.

Design Engineering Graduate Apprentice Sam Morton, joined Leonardo in Edinburgh after receiving straight As in her Advanced Highers in maths, physics and applied mechanics at Hamilton College in Hamilton.

Sam said: “People were very helpful when we reached out to our lab workers and lab managers. Our team leader Iain Adamson guided us in the use of engineering techniques to break down our tasks into a logical process. The Receiver Lab where we conducted the project is an important part of the business, as that is where we do a lot of test work on receiver parts and components. The receiver is the part of the radar that collects information coming in from the radar array.”

The team analysed the impact of this energy wastage over a two-week period and discovered it was the equivalent of watching TV for over 9000 hours, enough to view every episode of the Simpsons 36 times.

The team of apprentices then identified that there was a significant proportion of equipment left on while not in use. For the purposes of their study, they decided to class this as ‘wasted energy’.

Working with the Lab Managers and users, they designed a process where individuals were assigned responsibility for sustainable energy usage in each lab area, to ensure unused equipment was switched off.

They calculated that over the duration of the project, their process had reduced wasted energy by 53% in the Receiver Lab. This was achieved by implementing a process to highlight when equipment was not in use to establish behaviour changes to turn unused equipment off. The apprentices soon identified that this process, and the resulting improvements, could be copied anywhere.

The project has been so well received by the business that it is now being rolled out across the site’s laboratories.

Sam said: Going forward, there will be two or three engineers acting as Sustainability Champions in each of the labs. These engineers work there regularly and understand the equipment. They know whether it can be switched off safely and what needs to be left on for long running tests.”

Mark Stead, SVP, Radar and Advanced Targeting said: “Many of the company’s senior leaders began their careers as apprentices, and a significant number of apprentices go on to undertake degrees and achieve graduate status. This was our Edinburgh apprentices’ first energy efficiency project and it reduced our carbon footprint in a measurable way. We will continue to encourage and support our apprentices in championing sustainability, as their fresh insights can help us experiment and explore our path to net zero both today at the start of their careers and in the years to come as they continue to grow as professionals.”