West Midlands undergraduate David Hewett has beaten over 1,000 students from across the UK to land the title of the 'UK's Most Enterprising Student' at the final of the Shell STEP awards 2005.
David, studying mathematics at The University of Warwick, scooped the top award for his work this summer at Tailor Made Systems, Warwick.
The Awards are designed to showcase the achievements of the most enterprising undergraduates who have completed a Shell STEP project in the summer. The programme creates work placement opportunities for students with small businesses for the eight-week summer break.
David was awarded the £ 1000 top prize for his involvement in a project to develop a series of testing procedures for current models of airfield ground lighting (AGL) monitors.
In just eight weeks this summer, David started by developing the first computer simulation programme of its type which was able to accurately test the measurement systems of AGL monitors.
However, his innovative work didn't stop there.
David then went on to use the findings to work with Tailor Made Systems to create a prototype AGL monitor which, due to its reduced size, weight and cost, has the potential to open up new markets for the company as well as enhancing airfield safety around the world.
More than 1,000 undergraduates took part in Shell STEP projects this summer and David, supported by University of Warwick Science Park, battled it out with 11 other regional finalists taking part in the UK final.
David said: "I'm honestly overwhelmed. Working with the guys at Tailor Made was a fantastic experience for me and to get this award is extra special.
"The project has given me a self confidence that I could never have gained as part of my course added to the knowledge that I can adapt and succeed whatever situation I am find myself in."
Vernon Taylor, managing director of Tailor Made systems, added: "David's work has had a real impact on the company. Taking him on enabled us to focus on a project which simply could not have been carried out otherwise and the results speak for themselves. We are delighted."
Hosting the Awards, James Smith, chairman Shell UK, said: "Congratulations to David on his win.
"The 12 UK finalists had all taken on the challenge of doing a 'full-time' job for just eight weeks, and done it brilliantly. All of them had made the most of the opportunity, developed their workplace skills, and delivered something valuable for their host small business.
"At Shell, we're proud to support STEP across the UK and help more than 1,000 students get this experience every year."
Shell STEP is the UK's leading creator of tailored work placements for students in small to medium- sized businesses.
The programme's eightweek summer placements help students apply their knowledge, gain workplace skills, and make them accountable for a project with a genuine impact on the host company's bottom line.
Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said: "Shell STEP plays an important role in ensuring that UK SMEs appreciate the breadth of skills available from the graduate and undergraduate community."