Graduating from Leeds with a degree in Sustainability was a bit daunting. Any student graduating from University feels a bit lost when applying for jobs, trying to find one that will enable you make the impact you want in the world and that will use all the skills you’ve developed throughout your studying. But I was lucky enough to find both purpose and challenge over the past 11 months as a Sustainability Intern at the University’s Sustainability Service.
My role within the service has been so varied, allowing me to explore a huge breadth of sustainability in action. Throughout my degree, learning about climate change, circular economy, social justice, environmental politics and so much more, I began to feel more and more eager to have a practical impact on these elements of a sustainable future.
Through my role, I was able to support the University’s Climate Plan, embed sustainability across the University through our Blueprint programme, celebrate sustainability successes at the University and beyond through organising the Sustainability Awards, support connections with the community with the PIP programme and be involved in the University’s travel work, such as our emission reporting and work towards a sustainable return to campus. All this gave me a brilliant insight to a huge range of work streams within Sustainability.
My role working alongside colleagues surrounding the University’s travel was particularly interesting and enjoyable for me. Having an insight into the data collection for emissions reporting and being able to work in a small group to tackle problems was extremely rewarding. Similarly, I was able to take the time to up skill myself in using Arc GIS Pro, a software I was keen to learn more about, in order to support the return to campus work as part of the active travel working group. All the elements of the travel project work challenged me to expand my data management skills, stay up to date with national and regional travel updates and to learn a lot about good teamwork!
The Sustainability Service were bold enough to put a lot of trust in Hatty and myself, giving us the space to explore interesting topics, make suggestions and generally get stuck in. I was fortunate to have been able to perform a review of the Blueprint programme, talking to people in sustainability and beyond to gain their insights. With fantastic support from the team, I was able to suggest some improvements and deliver training sessions on these changes. Having this chance to explore how a project is run and be critical to make improvements was a brilliant opportunity and I am grateful to the Service for putting that trust in me.
One of the most valuable things this role has given me has been an insight into the amazing work done by people at the University at every level, both in academic and operational areas, and seeing what can happen when they can be enabled to work together, such as through living lab projects. It is so motivating to know that the University is home to people who work their socks off every day to try and make the University and the world a more equal and sustainable place. I know that whatever career I pursue in the future, that I will remember the wonderful people within the Sustainability Service and everything they have helped me learn.