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The Low Carbon Devon Internship and Leadership Programme connected 43 University of Plymouth students or recent graduates with a Devon SME to  complete a low carbon project.
The interns brought skills from their degree programmes and provided additional resource to support the delivery of a low carbon project or new product or service. The interns completed a variety of projects for the businesses, from measuring carbon footprints to researching a report on future energy markets.
The internship programme included an innovative sustainability leadership component. The interns joined together each week for one-hour workshops to give them the skills to become future-fit as change-makers, leaders and role models of a low carbon society. The workshops were framed using the Plymouth Compass leadership tool and helped develop the tools as well as the inspiration and confidence to facilitate proactive change within the climate challenge.

Internship case studies


Rum carbon calculation Intern: Ellie Dunklee – Two Drifters Distillery

Ellie was tasked with analysing the carbon footprint and Life Cycle Assessment of equipment within the Two Drifters rum distillery. She helped them measure the environmental impact of the stainless steel vessels used in the distillery, that had been imported from China, and also undertook a comparison of stainless steel sourced from Germany.
They now have a detailed understanding of the impact of this distillery equipment which informs their ambitious Carbon Tax process. This process involves paying an external company to have carbon removed from the air to counteract the company’s carbon emissions. It comes with a high price tag, meaning it is far cheaper to avoid creating CO2 than it is to remove it, making a reduced carbon footprint front and centre in everything that they do. They are the world’s first rum distillery with a carbon negative footprint and are based in Exeter.
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Ellie Dunklee, Future Shift Internship
“It’s been incredible to work with a company that is taxing itself, whilst competing against others brands who are not doing this. They are driven by principles and feel passionately that business has a responsibility to tackle their impact on the environment.”
Ellie Dunklee

Care sector carbon impact Intern: Thijs Mostert – Devon Care Home Collaborative

Thijs was brought in to understand more about the carbon footprint of the care homes within the Devon Care Home Collaborative and to provide solutions to help them reduce this. He surveyed the care homes within the Collaborative to establish what carbon reduction measures were already in place and then held a workshop to share best practice and ideas for simple changes. The project progressed to assessing the carbon footprint of some of the care homes, to understand what more significant measures could be implemented.
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Thijs Mostert
“We were really pleased with the outcomes and believe this is a foundation on which DCHC can build for the future. We are talking with key stakeholders about the journey to net zero, we are having conversations with suppliers that we have never had before and our fellow care home colleagues are now hearing about the importance of sustainability within care.”
Devon Care Homes Collaborative

Decoding the honey bee waggle Intern: Erin Browne – Pollenize CIC

Erin’s expertise has been instrumental in helping Pollenize to decode the honey bee waggle. Pollenize have 11 community beehives stocked with native honey bees across Plymouth and work to raise awareness about pollinator decline. By utilising the bees as a biosensor and through DNA analysis of pollen and honey they can build a picture of the floral environment from the bees’ perspective. This informs the recipes of seed packets which are tailored to the local environment and floral gaps through the seasons. The packets have been distributed through local schools. 
Without Erin’s internship, they could not have been as agile in how they approached the development of the AI camera system that monitored the bees; her expertise and flexibility around the subject has allowed them to progress in a positive direction.
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Erin Browne
“Her impressive scientific skill set made her the perfect candidate to help us research and gather important environmental intelligence data to help us combat the drivers of pollinator decline.”

Previous opportunities

The internship programme has now closed. The previous opportunities listed below provide a snapshot of planet-positive work underway in Devon enterprises.