Reporter 440, 11 October 1999

Richard striding on to success after STEP glory

A Leeds final year student has beaten off competition from over 1,500 hopefuls to land the prestigious STEP "Most Enterprising Student" award for 1999.

Step on: Richard Sykes beat over 1,500 students to land this handsome trophy

Joint honours mechanical engineering and management student Richard Sykes spent his summer working for a Manchester paint company. During his brief spell with H Marcel Guest he transformed the company's approach to its waste management - saving it up to 12,000 a year and the firm from possible prosecution by the Environment Agency.

New European guidelines are being introduced laying out how much of their waste packaging small and medium-sized companies must recycle. Richard was put in charge of registering the company with the green scheme. He then helped to ensure it will comply with the new regulations by totally rewriting the company's code of practice.

He also suggested changes to the company's processes that could save it thousands of pounds every year.

Richard so impressed the company that they extended his original eight-week placement and gave him his own office.

"Taking responsibility for my own project in a small company was a tremendous experience," he said. "It's really opened my eyes to what being in business is all about."

Richard graduates next summer and says he has yet to finalise what we wants to do, though his summer's experiences are leading him towards "consultancy and project work".

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