Waste Management Consultant
Information about Tim Elliott
||Eunomia Research & Consulting
"There are many interesting jobs out there - ones that haven’t always been a staple part of the economy, but that you can make a great career out of.
I’m Tim Elliott, and I’m a consultant at Eunomia Research & Consulting in Bristol.
At Eunomia, our focus is on the social and environmental consequences of the work that we carry out. It’s important to me that my job helps the worldwide environment – for example by mitigating climate change and reducing pollution – and that it benefits others more than myself.
I actually trained as an aeronautical engineer, but then did an environment-based Open University course and that led to where I am now. My hope is that the work we’re doing here, and the lessons we’re learning, can be passed on to those in developing countries – so that they’ll be better able to meet the growing challenges that they face.
Tell us about your job – where do you work and what do you do?I work at Eunomia Research and Consulting. It's a Bristol-based, employee-owned, multi-disciplinary consultancy. Working throughout the UK and EU, Eunomia’s consultants are grounded in environmental, technical and commercial disciplines, with the main service areas being:
• Climate change
• Resource efficiency
• Waste management
The staff here are hand-picked from a range of backgrounds, which means that Eunomia can offer best-in-field advisers in areas such as environmental modelling, waste, and policy & strategy development. We have an excellent reputation for staying in touch with - and occasionally ahead of - emerging environmental policy. This ability to ‘predict the future’ allows us to efficiently focus our efforts, and those of our clients, on sustainable solutions that work today.
I'm a consultant here. I work on a range of projects; modelling environmental impacts, performing site appraisals, writing governmental reports, and keeping ahead of the changing world!
What inspired you to do what you do? How did you get into it, did you have a plan?I wanted to change the world somehow. I didn’t have a specific plan, just the general idea that I wanted to help others and the environment. I actually trained as an aeronautical engineer then made a bit of a career move! I couldn’t see a future in what I was doing at the time, so I quit my job and started working towards my long-term goals. I found an Open University course in Environment and International, and that seemed like exactly the right thing to go for. When I'd finished the first year of the course (2 years ago) I looked for some jobs. I found a junior position at Eunomia, applied, and was accepted.
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.It's meaningful, to me personally, because it's an ethical job that I know is directly helping the worldwide environment - by mitigating climate change and reducing pollution; the knock-on effect is that people will lead better lives.
As Chair of the Bristol Amnesty International group, I am acutely aware of poverty around the world, and of the fact that those most vulnerable to climate change are the ones least able to avoid the problems it will cause. The EU is leading the way in waste management. Hopefully the key lessons that we're learning here - in terms of using resources efficiently, and reducing pollution by managing waste - can be passed on to those in developing countries, helping them to meet the growing challenges of expanding economies.
Many jobs in this sector are very new, how long has your job existed?The company has been around for 8 years, but it's doubled in size in the last 3 years.
What personal qualities do you think have got you where you are today?• Focusing on the environment and others - rather than seeking the fastest route to the biggest buck.
• Hard work and a ‘can do’ attitude.
• Passion for the things that I believe in, and not being afraid to speak out about them.
What are the essential skills for your job?• A keenness to learn and a brain like a sponge, for soaking up information.
• Team working! It's a bit of a cliché, but you need to be able to get on with others in a fun, open
environment and trust what they are doing.
• Critical thinking! Another cliché, but so often (especially in the political arena) people report
information with a slant, or to meet an agenda; you have to question everything that you read.
• Communication skills! The relationship that you build with clients and contacts is crucial, especially
when managing projects. Clients will often have their own ideas and preconceptions about what they
want; if their ideas are unrealistic or unworkable you have to be able to communicate the reasons
clearly and concisely.
• IT skills – and the ability to use them well and efficiently.
What qualifications do you have? Are these typical for people in your role?• 4 A-levels at grade A
• Degree – Aeronautical Engineer
• Open University – Environment Course
• Prince2 - Project Management
• Windsurfing instructor (useful for communication skills)
What do you think most helped you get where you are now?Again, putting others first - backed up by lots of hard work, together with having the confidence to get up and go for what I believe in.
Please describe a typical working dayDifficult, as it does vary a lot in terms of the projects that I work on and the type of work that I do.
A general day would include:
• Coming in and having a friendly catch-up with colleagues
• Checking emails
• Background research
• Computer-based modelling and analysis
• Report writing
• Going to client meetings
What do you enjoy most and least about what you do?Most:
• Working in a fast-developing and important sector.
• The freedom that this allows me in using my own ideas to provide solutions to our clients.
• Knowing that the work we do will have an impact on climate change in the future.
• Occasionally working with sceptical ‘can’t do’ people who are dogged by political concerns.
What kind of people do you meet through your work or do you work alone?In general, the younger people that I meet in other organisations (both private and governmental) are great; there is a genuine sense of interest in what they do. Most people are kind, intelligent and want to help the environment.
As I mentioned already, when you work with the government politics comes into play, which is sometimes frustrating - you can clearly see the best thing to do, but can tell that decision-makers are concerned with votes.
Do you feel well paid for what you do, or is it not about the money?If you work hard then you will get the financial reward that helps you do what you want to in life. It's not about the money for me though (I’d do it for much less – just don’t tell my boss!).
Finally, what do you know now about jobs, careers and the future that you wish you’d known when you were at school?That there are many more interesting jobs out there, ones that haven’t always been a staple part of the economy, but that you can make a great career out of.
Also, that it's not necessarily the qualifications you have that count; it's your passion for a job or cause or whatever that's much more likely to get you into a job that you want (as long as the job is ethically-based, that is). Existing careers advice focuses on what you need in order to get a ‘career’ that provides you with money - but it shouldn't just be about making money; a job is such a large part of your life that, to me, it's crucial for it to be ethical and benefit others more than yourself.
Finally, I think that the traditional idea of a ‘career’ should not be emphasised so strongly; jobs and recruitment should be flexible. There's a wide range of jobs out there, and the key transferable skills are the ones that are important - good employers understand that a mixed background is worthwhile.
So get out there! Don’t limit yourself by getting stuck in a long-term ‘stable’ job, one that you don’t enjoy, and that doesn’t help the environment and others. You'll be surprised at what comes up if you put these objectives first!
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