Lucy Coubrough has bounced back from Covid-19 related redundancy and set up her own business – with the help of Swedish energy group, Vattenfall. And this year will see her work with five schools in Norfolk to develop lessons on sustainability
All was going well for Lucy Coubrough back in September 2019, when she began her apprenticeship with British Airways. But it would be fair to say that the 19-year-old’s career path suffered something of a setback when her apprenticeship ended at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Undeterred, Lucy, from Norwich, knew that it was time to apply herself to a new challenge and decided to start her own business six years earlier than originally planned.
She is now the founder and director of Alfico Project Management, a consultancy she established with the help of Swedish energy group Vattenfall. Lucy is also continuing her degree in Construction Management at Anglia Ruskin University while running her business in parallel.
During 2021, she will be Vattenfall’s consultant for the Developing Experts programme, which will see her work with five schools in Norfolk on developing lessons to learn about sustainability and adapting to fossil fuel free living. It will also see her work with University Technical College Norfolk (UTCN) in Norwich on a learning project, too.
It comes after organising Vattenfall’s role in the Restart Festival which was organised by the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to provide free training, workshops and spaces to exchange ideas and advice to Norfolk and Suffolk’s businesses after the first Covid-19 lockdown.
The link between Vattenfall and Lucy began while she was studying at UTCN. A team from the company visited the college to deliver a workshop to students.
The students’ task was to project manage the development of a theoretical wind farm, through which they could learn about the real-life process. The tasks ranged from designing the offshore wind farm and necessary onshore transmission infrastructure, taking into account environmental factors and local community views, to generating a viable business case for their proposal. This stimulated Lucy’s interest in the energy sector.
From UTCN, she went on to British Airways – until the impact of the pandemic meant her time with the company came to an end. Lucy reached out to Vattenfall who, knowing of her interest in project management, engaged her to co-ordinate part of the company’s role in the Restart Festival.
The pandemic has accelerated Lucy’s plans somewhat, as she says: ‘I had a long-term plan of setting up my own business by the age of 25, and I am set up and ready to go six years early.
‘Sue Falch-Lovesey and the Vattenfall team have been so supportive. They helped me find a placement for my apprenticeship and have then offered me some fantastic projects. They have been the turning point in helping me shape my career.’
And she adds: ‘Being part of Developing Experts is particularly exciting. To help inspire young people to find out more about sustainable energy and provide some exciting activities to enthuse them is a fantastic opportunity.’
Setting up her own business seems to be such a natural step for Lucy, and I hope we have an opportunity to work together again
Susan Falch-LoveseyVattenfall’s local liaison officer and skills champion
Sue, Vattenfall’s local liaison officer and skills champion, has nothing but praise for Lucy: ‘Lucy launched herself into project managing Vattenfall’s input into the Restart Festival and did a wonderful job. She brought together the students’ inspiring offer, crafted the Vattenfall elements and professionally hosted the event. Setting up her own business seems to be such a natural step for Lucy, and I hope we have an opportunity to work together again.
‘This experience has helped highlight the many employment opportunities offered by offshore wind projects like Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas. As well as the technical and engineering roles associated with the turbines and construction, there are a number of other jobs that need to be done, including project management, quantity surveying, finance, and analytics.’
Lucy is a great role model for UTCN students and demonstrates how a career path can sometimes take a different route to your initial plans
Sophie SkippEmployer Engagement Co-ordinator at UTCN
Sophie Skipp, Employer Engagement Co-ordinator at UTCN, adds: ‘Lucy is a great role model for UTCN students and demonstrates how a career path can sometimes take a different route to your initial plans. I am sure that she will be very successful, and that her enthusiasm and professionalism will bring her many clients.’