University students walking around campus

Shaping futures: AFRY’s summer internship 2023

Written by Maryam Asad

Summer 2023 at AFRY Management Consulting brought on exciting challenges and transformative journeys for a cohort of bright students who participated in this year’s internship programme.

This opportunity for young professionals seeking to combine their education with practical job experience was made possible thanks to AFRY's collaboration with the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF). The Social Mobility Foundation is a national charity whose vision is for a society where talent from all backgrounds is nurtured, harnessed, and rewarded. Through the programme, AFRY has the opportunity to welcome fresh ideas, challenge conventional thinking, and bring together a unique blend of talents that can lead to transformative outcomes.

As the programme comes to an end, our interns are reflecting on the extraordinary journey they underwent this summer and the invaluable insights and experiences that have made their internships a success.

Meet the interns

Over the span of eight weeks, AFRY’s office in Oxford, UK, welcomed seven energy interns (three of whom are returning from 2022) and one communications intern who quickly became integral members of the team, bringing brand new perspectives, enthusiasm, and desire to advance their knowledge and abilities. The interns undertook challenging projects, worked across diverse fields, embodied AFRY’s values, and left a lasting impact through the organisation.

Intern working in the office

Kayleigh, a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Greenwich

During her eight weeks here, Kayleigh worked on a project to decarbonise the aviation and maritime sectors. Her key responsibilities included gathering background knowledge about energy use in these sectors, analysing decarbonisation potential, and finding out what the viable options currently are. With her team, she also prepared a data structure that contained historical energy use, designed a methodology for projecting energy use in each sector, and presented the analysis findings.

Her work on this project has given Kayleigh a deeper understanding of decarbonisation in these industries, which she feels has been incredibly impactful for her future career, as her ultimate goal as an engineer is to be innovative to address global environmental challenges and drive sustainable solutions in line with SDGs and life cycle analysis.

“Being an energy intern at AFRY has honed my skills, broadened my perspective, and ignited my passion for sustainable engineering solutions.”

Shian-Li, a Biology student at the University of Oxford

Shian-Li spent her eight weeks working on building an Excel model to evaluate PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) profitability for sustainable projects such as renewable energy sources. Shian-Li was the primary builder and worked closely with her manager and supervisor to upscale the model in terms of complexity. This model will be a great tool for evaluating sustainable projects with PPAs quickly and under different scenarios.

As someone with a biological background, Shian-Li was faced with new economic theories that underpinned the terms of her work. However, she persevered under pressure and managed to overcome this by seeking external resources to first understand, and then apply these parameters. She also communicated with her team and performed independent research. Shian-Li gained numerous skills that will benefit her future career such as presentation, Excel, and analytical skills, alongside developed knowledge of sustainability and PPAs.

“Undertaking an internship at AFRY has grown my understanding of the management consulting side of sustainability, sharpening my vision of my future career path and how I wish to continue helping”

Intern working in the office
Intern looking at computer in the office

Samin, an Aerospace Engineering student at Queen Mary University of London

Samin’s main project this summer involved compiling a database that displayed all the Green and Blue Ammonia projects currently being worked on worldwide. He gathered various existing databases from different sources and compiled them. During his internship, Samin also learned to better organise larger tasks by breaking them down using Gantt charts, which helped manage projects efficiently and ensured he was on the right track and made it easier to identify and evaluate any changes made along the way.

“The past eight weeks have been an amazing experience for me where I learnt a lot about the Energy sector and Sustainability in general. It has opened my eyes to the immense work that goes on behind the scenes to make a greener future possible for all of mankind, in all parts of the world.”

“Working at AFRY has been an amazing experience! I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and appreciated the level of independence and responsibility we were given with our projects. At times I felt like any other employee and not like an intern at all!"

Christina, a Biochemistry student at The University of Edinburgh

During her internship, Christina had the opportunity to alter her project from conducting data visualisation to instead creating graphic designs. With her interest in exploring careers in combating sustainability issues, she has acquired skills in critical analysis to communicate ideas with a range of audiences. With the AFRY Management Consulting team, she has helped improve graphics on processes within sustainability and formulate a structure to explain complex processes clearly.

“My time at AFRY has been an enriching experience around the energy sector, where my supervisors have allowed me to explore different methods to explain sustainability strategies.”

Intern working in the office
Intern working in the office

Neha, a Physics student at Imperial College London

Neha, a returning intern at AFRY worked on electricity demand hourly time-series modelling. This model should be able to take data, time, weather, and other variables into consideration to predict what the electricity demand was for a certain hour of a day for a range of European countries.

Neha believes her coding abilities have significantly improved over the last eight weeks. She’s had the opportunity to learn about writing codes that are more efficient and thorough as well as learning how to build models and implement machine learning models in Python which are all beneficial skills for a career in Physics.

“I have learned a lot during my time here on this internship, from learning more about the energy industry to machine learning in Python. The chance to connect and network with people in the office and my fellow interns, has also been invaluable. My experiences here are something I can take forward with me to support my professional development.”

Josh, a Physics student at Durham University

Josh, a returning intern at AFRY, project this summer revolved around the Power BI transition. He worked on converting internal dashboards from Tableau to Power BI to provide a template for future work at AFRY. Josh describes his experience at AFRY as excellent as he could manage and visualise big data, be at the centre of data, help develop new features, implement release cycles, react to user feedback as well as engaging in training and education, and overall see how his efforts will fit into the daily workflow.

“My time at AFRY has been massively rewarding, it’s exciting to be able to talk with such competent individuals, passionate about their specialties and learn from their experiences, implementing this knowledge into my work”

Intern working in the office
Intern working in the office

Anna, a Physics student at the University of Oxford

Anna's project focused on the amount of electricity needed to satisfy the demand for heating and cooling in Ireland. Anna is a returning intern from 2022, so she had the opportunity to build upon the methodology she used last summer on her proof-of-concept model of EU industrial electricity consumption.

She enjoyed being part of the Irish team this year and found that her work was inherently varied due to the nature of the Irish economy and infrastructure which meant she was able to research everything from heating barns to making Alumina.

“It's been great to work on a project with clear interim deliverables and structure in mind, combined with feedback and guidance from my project manager, I've developed a lot more confidence in my work.”

Maryam, a Marketing student at the University of Strathclyde

During her summer internship, Maryam worked on a variety of projects as a communications intern. Her main tasks included creative work with images and production of branded materials, web editing, creating, and posting social media content, analysing brand and social media activity and creating and delivering a marketing plan along the topic of sustainability consulting, and lots more. Maryam was fortunate that along with completing these tasks, her internship was very learning-based as the communications team had taught her a lot about digital marketing, how to utilise technologies like adobe creative cloud, analytics tools, web editing, and more.

Having been part of the AFRY Management Consulting communications team this summer, Maryam feels she has gained a more comprehensive understanding of how communications are critical to an organisation’s growth and success, from strategies that will bring brand visibility and awareness to effective messaging, engagement, adaptation to industry trends and then measuring the outcomes to promote continuous improvement and optimisation of strategies.

"I’m eternally grateful for my time as AFRY’s communications intern. This experience was a real eye-opener into what a career in communications is all about. With the help of my team, I've had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, which has enabled me to improve my knowledge and marketing skills"

Interns group picture

Embracing diversity and inclusion

The Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) is a charity whose goal is to create a practical improvement in social mobility for young ambitious people who come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This partnership blends perfectly with AFRY’s belief that change happens when exceptional people with brave ideas come together. By actively encouraging the inclusion of individuals from diverse backgrounds, AFRY can gain access to a range of perspectives that can enhance innovation and creativity and improve problem-solving abilities with the end goal to accelerate change toward a sustainable world in the interest of future generations.

Once more, I am delighted with the excellent work and contributions delivered by our 2023 cohort of summer interns at AFRY Management Consulting, brought to us in collaboration with the Social Mobility Foundation. As with every year, bringing in a set of young and ambitious people in our fields of expertise proves a great asset to our team. AFRY’s partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation is a great example of a collaboration that benefits everyone involved, bringing fresh ideas to AFRY and extending AFRY’s network of experts to the next generation of leaders along the sustainability transition

says Richard Sarsfield-Hall, Director and Head of Energy Management Consulting UK at AFRY

Richard Sarsfield-Hall - Director & Head of Energy Management Consulting UK, AFRY Management Consulting

Richard Sarsfield-Hall

Director & Head of Energy Management Consulting UK, AFRY Management Consulting

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