South West Regional Coordinator
Information about Emma Quest
||NEA (National Energy Action)
"Do a job that makes you feel good, and don’t be afraid to try things out until you find the job that you want or like.
I’m Emma Quest, and I work for a national charitable organisation that helps people, organisations and groups to get out of fuel poverty.
I took a degree in Business Studies & Combined Science. The Business Studies element helps me understand the economics and business side of energy, together with how it’s supplied and consumed, whilst the Combined Science part of my studies has helped me get to grips with the technological and more scientific aspects of energy production and conservation.
I enjoy working with different people, and it’s good to know that my job is making a difference.
Tell us about your job – where do you work and what do you do?I work for NEA (National Energy Action), a charity that helps people tackle the issue of fuel poverty. I am the South West Regional Coordinator for this national organisation. I work with all kinds of different groups and organisations to help set up or run projects that help people get out of fuel poverty. We can help anyone who spends more than 10% of their disposable income on domestic fuel bills like heating, hot water, electricity and gas.
What inspired you to do what you do? How did you get into it, did you have a plan?I didn’t have a plan, but I always wanted to do a job that made me feel good and had a positive outcome.
Why is your job meaningful? Both to you personally, and in how it benefits the wider world in terms of climate change and other environmental challenges.I enjoy my job because I know I make a difference, I work with all kinds of people and I get to travel too.
NEA helps people to become more fuel efficient, we educate people about ways to get more from the energy that they use and to reduce what they waste. Our projects also involve exploring, and helping people tap into, renewable energy supplies and technology to help cut fuel bills and reduce domestic carbon footprints.
Many jobs in this sector are very new, how long has your job existed?NEA started just over 10 years ago. I’ve been in this post for a couple of years.
What personal qualities do you think have got you where you are today?Being able to work with different types of people and organisations has been helpful. I am a flexible communicator; I know my subject and I am prepared to work hard.
What are the essential skills for your job?It’s important to know the field you are working in and the challenges faced by those who are experiencing fuel poverty. Equally, it’s important to be solution-focussed and explore the best alternatives to help people. It’s important to be IT literate, and having good interpersonal skills is essential.
What qualifications do you have? Are these typical for people in your role?I took a degree in Business Studies and Combined Science.
Some people do have degrees, but experience and knowledge within this field could also get you into this kind of post.
What do you think most helped you get where you are now?I think studying for my degree helped. Having a background in science helps me manage some of the more technical or scientific side of things regarding energy, energy efficiency, and the economic challenges faced by local authorities, community groups and organisations.
Please describe a typical working daySome days I’m in the office - catching up on administration, sending emails, developing project ideas - and other days I’m out on the road - meeting people, attending meetings, coordinating projects or public events - so it’s pretty varied.
I work hard but most of the time it’s kind of 9am – 6pm. Hours can be longer if I have to travel to meetings or conferences, but it’s all part of getting the job done.
What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?I enjoy knowing that my job is doing some good in the world and making a difference to people.
It can get stressful when there’s a pressing deadline or a conference to set up, and some meetings can be stressful depending on the type of people that are going to be there. I used to get stressed talking to chief executives or those who I thought knew much more than me, but these days I feel more confident in what I know, and how to communicate with different kinds of business people or leaders.
What kind of people do you meet through your work or do you work alone?I get to work with local council leaders, community group leaders, members of the public, politicians, energy suppliers - all kinds of people really.
Do you feel well paid for what you do, or is it not about the money?Hey, I’d like to be paid more but I do feel I get a good wage for what I do. It’s not about the money, but I do have a mortgage to pay.
Finally, what do you know now about jobs, careers and the future that you wish you’d known when you were at school?Do a job that makes you feel good, and don’t be afraid to try things out until you find the job that you want or like.
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