Students Staff

18 January 2019

Meet our Sustainability Project Officer

Filed under: Latest news — ckeitch @ 1:01 pm

After completing an Electronic Engineering degree at Essex in 2017, Charles Ballardini successfully applied for an internship in our sustainability team, where he’s now been working for over a year. We met him to find out more.

Tell us a bit about your background at Essex.

Charles Ballardini

Charles Ballardini

My undergraduate degree was in Electronic Engineering which included a year abroad in New Zealand. I graduated in July 2017 and immediately began working for a small engineering company based in Ipswich. I had quite a bad experience working for that company. I found it to be very disorganised and frustrating to work with, so I began looking for alternative work. My job hunt led me to CareerHub, where I found this internship advertised. I began working in this role on 1 January 2018 on a three month contract to complete a specific project. It was here that I really found a passion for environmental sustainability. As my work progressed, I received three contract extensions which means I’ve now been here for over a year.

Tell us what your role involves?

My role now spans quite a diverse range of responsibilities. First and foremost, I have been working on a project reviewing the University’s position in the People and Planet university league and actioning any areas that require attention.

How has the role developed sine you first started?

Originally the role involved performing a gap analysis on our position in the league table to determine where we were falling short, this was complemented with a report listing my findings. After this, my role required me to action my findings in the report, ensuring that tasks were completed in an order of priority. Alongside this, I have been tasked with supporting the Sustainability Engagement Officer in improving sustainability engagement amongst staff and students.

What do you think are some of the key skills you have learned and developed while working with the sustainability team?

Throughout my time here, I’ve learnt and developed numerous skills and enhanced my knowledge in all kinds of areas. I’ve become familiar with the internal politics, operations and structure of the University and other similar organisations. I’ve learnt how to maintain professional conduct in an office based environment, and how I interact with people in person and through email. I’ve also grown to appreciate the importance of building good relationships with colleagues. I’ve also learnt a large amount of technical knowledge regarding climate change, waste and recycling, water, energy and carbon saving,  workers’ rights, strategy and policy-making, sustainable food, and management for sustainability.

What have been the highlights while working in this role?

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the changes I have helped to influence throughout my time here, working with a great team and obtaining large swathes of knowledge relating to environmental sustainability.

What advice would you give to other Essex students or graduates, to help them succeed in their internships?

I’d advise people to focus on building good connections with colleagues across the University, regardless of their department. Jump at any opportunity to help others, at some point during your time at Essex you will need the help of others, and the better your relationships the more receptive they will be to your own requests and queries.

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