Norfolk student shapes her career inspired by Swedish energy group

Vattenfall

A former Dereham High School student is carving a career with a £15 billion global engineering business after winning its first environmental degree apprenticeship opportunity in the UK.

Milly Chapman is on a five-year training programme with Jacobs Engineering Group in London as an Environmental Practitioner Degree Apprentice, after being inspired by Swedish energy group Vattenfall, which plans to build two of the world’s biggest offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast.

During National Apprenticeship Week, the 19-year-old told of how her career path took shape when she met the Vattenfall team at a community outreach session at Dereham Sixth Form, when she was 16.

She went on to engage with the company’s community and skills activities for two years.

“I thought it would be a one-off wonderful experience, but what happened actually blew my mind - it was so multi-faceted,” said Milly.

With initial ambitions to be an ecologist, Milly joined in a community survey related to Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas wind farm consents.

She also mapped at a local site for notable species and supported the company at its skills programme in Norfolk, designed to inspire and raise young people’s awareness of opportunities in renewable energy, led by Susan Falch-Lovesey, Vattenfall’s Local Liaison Officer and Skills Champion.

Last summer she represented Vattenfall at the Wind Energy and Wildlife Impacts conference in Scotland.

Milly said: “When I first started working with Vattenfall, I just wanted to be an ecologist, but it got to the point where I realised I wanted to work in the environmental sector as a project manager, specialising in stakeholder engagement.

“The Vattenfall programme has continuously supported me with a variety of opportunities and experiences, which helped my confidence no end. I had my eyes opened to a professional environment, new goals and I was introduced to people from other companies who I really wanted to engage with.

“I’ve seen first-hand the layers that go into a big environmental project and how passionate the team are about it and I thought working, while learning, would really suit my skills set.”

After beginning a full-time degree in environmental science at the University of East Anglia, Milly decided that a degree apprenticeship would offer her a balance of university study with on-the-job training.

Since working for Jacobs she has become an active member of the women’s network and LGBT+ network. Milly is also a STEM ambassador, working with young adults and children in environmental industry events, using the insight she gained from her time with Vattenfall.

“After five years of study at Kingston University I will have my degree, be working towards becoming a Chartered Environmental Consultant and I hope that I will get the opportunity to travel the world and work in one of the other offices in the US, or New Zealand.”

Mrs Falch-Lovesey said: “Milly was, and still is a great ambassador for Vattenfall.

“She really honed her skills through her work with us. She was so keen and driven and it is fantastic to hear that it has helped shape her future career. Exposing the skills of young people is paramount, because they are our future.

“We’re delighted to see Norfolk’s next generation reaping the benefits of our local skills programme developing the skills needed to reach net zero and for the future growth of the offshore sector in the UK.”