Future Shift
The Low Carbon Devon Internship and Leadership Programme is a 3-month fully-funded internship opportunity that has been placing current students or recent graduates of the University of Plymouth within Devon SMEs to work on a low carbon project.
The internship programme has provided invaluable support for Devon-based enterprises combined with practical work experience and leadership development for current students and recent graduates. This has allowed local organisations to deliver a low carbon project, develop or implement a new low carbon idea, product or service, and/or reduce their carbon emissions. 
The innovative leadership component has comprised of change-leadership and personal development workshops for the interns to enable them to become future-fit as change-makers, leaders and role models of a low carbon society. These weekly 1-hour workshops focused on sustainability leadership and developing the skills and tools combined with the inspiration, confidence and ability to facilitate compassionate and proactive change to tackle the climate challenge. They have been framed using the Plymouth Compass leadership tool.

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.
“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.
“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.
“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

Future Shift interns have been working with Devon enterprises for 3 months helping them to complete a low carbon project. Applications are now closed – here are the previous opportunities representing a wealth of planet positive work underway in Devon.
Bailey Partnership – Net Zero Carbon Intern
Bird Eyewear – Climate Impact Intern
Borrow Don't Buy – Sustainable Business Internship
Devon and Plymouth Chamber - B Corp and Sustainable Business Intern
Devon Care Homes Collaborative - Carbon Impacts Care Sector 
Diversity Business Incubator – Environmental Impact Intern
Drew & Co – Carbon Net Zero Intern
dryrobe® – Sustainability Intern
Earthkind Events - Community Engagement Intern
EFFECT Photonics – Environmental Management Intern
Emerald Green Power – Sustainable Energy Intern
Exeter Science Centre - Low Carbon Building Design Intern
J Wippell & Co Ltd - Environmental Impacts Intern
Marine Biological Association - Sustainability and Laboratory Efficiency Intern
Nudge Community Builders – Climate Action and Eco-Retrofitting Intern

Are you a Devon based SME?

As the Low Carbon Devon project approaches the end of its funded period, we are not able to organise further internships with host organisations. However, we want to continue to gauge interest in similar opportunities within the Devon SME community to help us apply for future funding. 
We’d appreciate you completing our expression of interest form with details of your idea for an internship and whilst we are not currently able to facilitate this, it will help inform applications for future funding.