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During the summer of 2018 Churchill recent engineering graduate, Luka Novovic (U14) participated in the Royal Academy of Engineering, Engineering a Better World: Partnership Exchanges, which matches talented engineering students from UK universities with members of the Academy’s Africa Prize alumni for a work placement.
Luka was placed with Standard Microgrid, a young company in South Africa that has developed an innovative approach to providing distributed renewable energy services in Zambia: a 12kW micro power utility that integrates proprietary grid management tools with solar photovoltaic technology and batteries, to provide clean, reliable energy.
As part of his placement, he undertook various activities including creating an onsite deployment plan for the Nyimba project, facilitating resource planning and management, refining installation guides for contractors and creating a quality control document. He also assisted with a printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing process and designed a Computer Aided Design tool to aid assembly of the product’s switch box, as well as helping with on-site operations in Nyimba.
‘The opportunity to work in such an innovative team with a start-up culture was fantastic, especially with such a good cause at the focus. It was great to see the work I was doing being implemented first-hand, and visiting one of the sites in Zambia where a power unit is installed will be a long-lasting memory. The international exposure and cultural mixture has widened my appreciation of engineering in sub-Saharan Africa. This is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity for any engineer who wishes to gain exposure to engineering outside the UK, in particular as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development.’
The placement was made possible thanks to an anonymous supporter who is a Churchill alumnus and member of RAEng, and it is hoped the scheme will be open to Churchill engineering students for summer 2019.