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My Governance Work Placement: Invest NI

With fond memories of Spain and the Sunseed collective still fresh in my mind, I started my governance placement this week with Invest Northern Ireland.

As hopefully most of you already know, Northern Ireland is a separate country from the Republic of Ireland, and is actually part of the United Kingdom. Having had to explain this to many different people, in many different countries, it no longer surprises me that this is not a widely known fact. Although part of the UK, we have our own devolved government (as do Scotland and Wales) which makes the majority of decisions affecting our small population.

Invest NI is a governmental organisation whose mission is to “grow the economy [of Northern Ireland] by helping new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland.” As before, my work placement will be eight weeks long, but my project couldn’t be any more different than the bridge I left at Sunseed. The task I have been trusted with at Invest NI is to bring together small renewable energy companies into a collaborative cluster, allowing them to take part in a pooled voucher scheme. This funding enables them to develop their connectivity within the industry and increase their contact with local knowledge providers, while also enhancing their competitive advantage.

It’s early days yet, but already I have a few promising proposals spread across the desk in front of me. Having already signed the Official Secrets Act, I can’t divulge more than that about what lies ahead of me, but trust me when I say that there are a lot of good ideas out there. After only three days, my research has unearthed schemes, plans and projects, all around the world, that are doing great things in the arena of renewable energies.

Invest NI are doing great things to try and ensure that, within Northern Ireland, these ideas are nurtured and supported financially as much as possible. More important than that, however, is the diverse array of knowledge providers that Invest NI can put these small businesses in touch with, including universities, colleges, and other publically funded research organisations. Given the sheer volume of innovation in renewable energies coming from my small country alone, it’s surely only a matter of time before someone out there discovers the secret to a carbon free future.

Freddie Harris is currently studying for a MSc in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His undergrad is in Tropical Environmental Science. Freddie writes about his current experiences as a sustainability student, giving others an insight into what is perhaps one of the most interdisciplinary subjects out there. He hopes to remain optimistic about the future!

Posted on: April 21, 2011, 9:00 am Category: The Life of an Environmental Studies Student Tagged with: , , , , ,

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