National Grid and Generating Genius transforming early careers

  • National Grid engineering competition winners announced at ‘How to Generate Genius’ awards and conference at the House of Lords. 
  • More than 35 students completed a five-week project and presented their ideas back to National Grid as part of the selection process.
  • Winning students from four universities have been awarded work placements with National Grid.

In collaboration with National Grid’s Grid for Good charity partner, Generating Genius, students from universities across the UK were invited to take part in an engineering challenge to win one of four work placements with National Grid. 

Students were set a challenge to find potential strategies for securing the materials that would be needed for a hypothetical new subsea cable development, and the new onshore infrastructure to support it. They had the opportunity to present their ideas to colleagues from both National Grid Ventures and National Grid Electricity Transmission, who then scored the winners.

More than 35 students were selected to present their recommendations to the judges. The four winners were announced at an awards ceremony and conference at the House of Lords earlier this month.  The students had the chance to network with National Grid representatives including Operations Directors from the Nemolink and BritNed interconnectors, and an insightful panel discussion with other business leaders.

The winning students, listed below, were able to network at the event and share their work with delegates.

1. Ikuni Ebereonwu: University of Birmingham – MEng Chemical Engineering (2024 graduation)

2. Glory Umoren: Keele University – MSc Artificial Intelligence (2023 graduation)

3. Chinemelum Umeano: University of Nottingham – BEng Electrical and Electronic Engineering (2024 graduation)

4. Chris Kumar: University of Leeds – BEng Chemical and Energy Engineering (2025 graduation)

The competition was designed to give students first-hand experience of working in the engineering sector, while helping to build their networks and inspire them about the opportunities the industry has to offer. The work placements awarded from the competition will give the students a greater understanding of what it is like to work in a corporate environment and can support them while they explore the incredible possibilities that are available in the engineering industry.

The students will be assigned to one of National Grid’s businesses, National Grid Ventures or National Grid Electricity Transmission. They will work in small teams, over a period of between two to six weeks, on a range of exciting projects. The projects they will be working on are all real-life projects and will include visits to different National Grid sites.

For some students this will be their first placement, so the on-the-job training and experience they receive will be invaluable in helping them to understand workplace practices, learn transferable communication skills and discover the importance of teamwork. 

Emma Bennett, Community Benefits Manager for National Grid said: “All the entries were of an extremely high standard, showing a real understanding of the energy industry and the need to connect clean, green and affordable energy to support the delivery of net zero.

“We believe work placements are essential to help the next generation not only gain an understanding of their chosen field but also experience the working environment first hand. We hope the skills they gain will help them progress in their future career.

“We would like to congratulate the finalists and everyone who took part and look forward to welcoming the winners to their placements next year.”

Generating Genius is a national charity that links schools and universities with businesses to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. It helps to prepare less advantaged students for the world of work by giving them access to real-life work experience.

I am extremely thrilled to have achieved first place in this challenge and it has made me even more enthusiastic about the future of the energy industry.

Winning student, Ikuni Ebereonwu from University of Birmingham, said: "The challenge topic was unique and refreshing. The focus on supply chain management and scope 3 emissions reduction was absolutely relevant to current industry discussions. Therefore, my goal was to implement sustainable practices in every step of the process, making sure to consider the strategic priorities of the National Grid and those of the UK. 

"I am extremely thrilled to have achieved first place in this challenge and it has made me even more enthusiastic about the future of the energy industry.”