As a young Geographer, I am always enthusiastic to be involved with the community and current local environmental opportunities. After just finishing my second year at the University of Leicester, studying BSc Geography, there is no time like the present to gain hands on professional experience before finishing the final year of my course.
Many modules within my degree have introduced the anthropogenic impact on the environment and innovative ways to ensure a sustainable future. However, my aim over the summer was to gain some valuable experience within the environmental sector.
Being locally based, PECT’s values towards the community share the same values as mine. After looking through the PECT website I found many interesting projects that sparked my attention. After getting into contact with the team, this led to an exciting couple of weeks of work experience at PECT!
Throughout the two weeks, I was introduced to many areas within the charity. The main projects I shadowed consisted of: the Business Energy Efficiency Cambridge and Peterborough programme (BEECP) and Investors in the Environment accreditation scheme (iiE). BEECP works alongside small businesses offering energy efficiency initiatives and possible capital grants. iiE is a national environmental accreditation scheme, helping businesses save money and reduce their impact on the environment.
On the first day, I was introduced to members of the PECT team and informed of their involvement with the range of different projects that the charity runs. During my time at PECT, I had the great privilege of attending a business networking event, where I was able to speak to businesses about the BEECP and iiE projects. This gave me the opportunity to network with representatives from an array of enterprises and build on my confidence and communication skills.
I also shadowed the business advisor during a variety of site visits including a local gymnasium. We completed an audit and an energy review of the building. The lighting and heating were analysed to explore alternative technologies or methods that could save both money and energy. I calculated this using a green house gas calculator within an excel spreadsheet. It was fascinating to understand the positive savings sustainable energy technologies can have when replacing older products! This will prove to be extremely valuable for the environmental modules I will study in my final year at university.
Throughout the second week I also audited the local shopping centre for the iiE accreditation scheme. It was extremely beneficial to understand the environmental policies and projects the centre had put in place to achieve their green status. They had mainly reduced their energy consumption through a mall refresh and a robust recycling system, this was very interesting in understanding the details of the policies that had been implemented.
During my work experience placement, the financial claims manager kindly suggested I apply for a new role PECT were appointed on behalf of Anglian Water. After reading the job specification it sounded perfect for me. I applied and was successful after the interview and I am now looking forward to my new role as a Keep it Clear Project Officer!
This will include educating local businesses and residents on ways to dispose of their waste in a sustainable and safe way to prevent drains from becoming blocked and causing floods. I am grateful for the opportunities that PECT has led me to and can not wait for the new role to begin at the end of July! It will provide me with even more experience before I return back to university in September.
Ruth Brookes – Volunteer at Peterborough Environment City Trust