Schneider Go Green
Schneider Go Green was a life-changing experience that started my career and I am so grateful for the opportunity the competition gave me. I wouldn’t be in the graduate program in United Kingdom, working in energy and sustainability, without participating in Schneider Go Green. It was an experience I will never forget!
Where it all started
Hi, my name is Rachel and I was part of the team ‘Charge it Up’ who represented the UK, in the Global Finals of Schneider Go Green 2019. My Go Green journey started back in January when my teammate, Adi and I came up with an idea to provide access to energy to an informal settlement in South Africa. After presenting our idea with fellow students for a University project, our course leader suggested we apply for the Go Green student contest. Little did I know then how our idea would grow and give me so many opportunities for a future in energy. Thanks to Steve Hall for setting us the challenge as part of MSc Sustainable Cities at the University of Leeds, which started my future in energy with Schneider Electric!
To say Adi and I were shocked when we received a call to say we were the winners of the European semi-finals and heading to the finals in Barcelona, is a huge understatement! We were so honoured and proud to have been chosen and are the first UK team to ever make it to the finals. As soon as it was announced globally, the whole UK Schneider Electric team got behind us.
In preparation for the final, I visited the Schneider Electric Leeds office to work with our mentor Barry Grier. Barry was so supportive of our project and got other colleagues with specialised expertise to help us and make our idea ready for the finals. The day spent in Leeds really demonstrated how much Schneider employees care about the student contest, future generations, and their ideas. They invested their time and effort into making sure we felt ready for Barcelona.
The finals week in Barcelona was amazing. I had one of the best and most memorable weeks meeting students from across the world and hearing their ideas.
As part of the final, we had a day of sightseeing Barcelona and experienced the culture with lots of great tapas! We visited La Sagrada Familia and saw the National Art Museum of Catalunya. The highlight has to be the Go-Kart experience! We drove Go-Karts on the streets of Barcelona to see the city in a different way. Thanks Gabby, from the Philippines team, for trusting me to drive you around Barcelona and helping me restart our Go-Kart when it failed with a bus behind us. It was a fantastic way to see the whole city in a day!
The finals were hosted at Schneider Electric’s Innovation Summit in Barcelona. It was incredible to be a part of the summit; hearing about the future of technologies, automation and energy from experts from across the world was inspiring. At University, we learnt and challenged how we can make cities more sustainable, however, Schneider demonstrated how they are doing this and plan to continue to make it happen in energy. Adi and I really enjoyed the VR headsets and seeing how all the technology works. Our mentor Barry was also at the Innovation Summit and introduced us to the UK Schneider Electric team and Mike Hughes the UK Zone President. It was great to meet and hear about the roles of Schneider teams and we were honoured so many wanted to meet us.
Adi and I loved presenting our idea to an international panel of judges, which started as a small university project many months prior. They were all so encouraging, supportive and interested in our work. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to the other teams’ presentations and was amazed at the sustainability ideas proposed. As everyone came from different university courses and international backgrounds, the range of ideas were really interesting. I look forward to watching those projects and start-ups grow in the future and change the world we live in! A massive congratulations to Nimisha and Naveen, of team Aloe E-cell India, for winning Schneider Go Green competition. Your idea is incredible, and I wish you both the best of luck as you expand Aloe E-cell into the future.
Barcelona concluded with drinks and dinner overlooking the harbour as the sunset. It was an amazing view, in a lovely restaurant, and a great way to finish off the finals in Barcelona. We were all awarded our certificates for being Global Finalists and enjoyed our final evening with the other teams, judges, and the global Schneider and Go Green Team. The Go Green teams continued the celebrations into the night in Barcelona with sangria and Karaoke and a spectacular rendition of Country Roads by Noah and myself! It was such a fun way to finish the trip and celebrate with the friends I had made from across the world!
Thanks to Schneider Go Green student contest, I have joined the UK Schneider Electric graduate program as a Graduate Trainee. Without the experiences and networking opportunities I had through Go Green, I never would be doing a job I really enjoy, in the sector I am passionate about. Having only been in the company a month, I already feel part of the Schneider family. I am so grateful to have been part of the Go Green competition and to Barry Grier for making my time with Schneider go beyond the competition. I am looking forward to my future career in Schneider Electric and the opportunities to follow.
Go Green 2020
Anyone who is thinking of applying or has an idea, Schneider Go Green is a great chance to have your bold idea heard. Even if your idea is not finished, you can work with industry experts and receive support throughout the Go Green competition. The competition is truly lifechanging and I recommend applying to any university student who would like to make a difference in energy and sustainability.
Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to my teammate and friend Adi for being on this journey with me and for working to create ‘Charge it Up’! Our idea that started in a lecture theatre with a painted cardboard box made it to Barcelona! Thanks to Steve Hall for nominating us for the competition and supporting us throughout. Thank you again to Barry Grier for all your help and support through Go Green and beyond, I wouldn’t be where I am now without your help! Thanks to the UK Schneider team backing us and the Global Go Green team who I had the honour to meet in Barcelona. A special thanks to Isabelle Kahakura Batista, Yeonjoo Lee, Jen Au and Tina Mylon for making the Go Green student contest experience so incredible and one I will never forget. Finally, thanks to the amazing 2019 Go Green teams who I had the privilege to meet and the friends I have made all across the world – Gabby, Yumi, Noah, Ayushi, Alejandra, Romina, Mirian, Lucas, Kirsi, Michael, Nimisha and Naveen. I wish you all the best of luck in the future!
About the Author
Rachel Ramage is a Graduate Trainee on the UK 2019/2020 Schneider Electric Graduate Scheme. She currently works in Strategy for Schneider Electric UK&I. Rachel has a BA Geography degree and an MSc in Sustainable Cities from the University of Leeds, UK. She was a part of the team ‘Charge it Up’ who were the 2019 European Semi-final winners and Global Finalists of the Schneider Go Green student contest.