A day in the life of a Climate Change Consultant

Jamie Monkhouse lets us into a typical day working as a Climate Change Consultant at Mott MacDonald.

Read about a typical day in the life of various professionals working across the water and environment sector. Here, Jamie Monkhouse tells us what it's like working as Climate Change Consultant at Mott MacDonald.

Jamie has worked in the climate sector for nearly three years, after completing an MSc in Carbon Management and a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages and Cultures (French and Spanish).

What does a typical day look like for you?

Firstly, I tend to split my time between working from home in Peckham (London) and at Mott MacDonald’s London office. I’ll typically start the day looking at any emails that have come in overnight, including a news and climate bulletin from the Guardian and a daily email from Carbon Brief. I’ll then get straight into my project work.

I’m currently working as the climate, nature and environment mainstreaming support on the UK Government’s Green Cities and Infrastructure Programme.

Today, this has involved drafting up some guidance on how we can estimate the percentage of international climate finance attributable to the programme’s interventions. Alongside that, I attended a business development meeting to discuss upcoming opportunities in the climate and development space. I also try to attend our climate change sector calls as much as possible to keep in touch with my colleagues around the world. Then in the afternoon, I watched a British Expertise International webinar on mobilising private climate finance.

What does your team look like?

I’d say I have various teams. I’m part of a climate change sector team within Mott MacDonald’s International Development Services business, with expertise ranging from climate finance and data to resilience and adaptation. We also have water, infrastructure and economic development practitioners and management consultants on our team which provides lots of opportunities for collaboration and learning.

I’m also part of the Green Cities and Infrastructure Programme (GCIP) alliance and more specifically the central climate, nature and environment team within it. It’s really interesting as people working on the programme come from very different organisations and have areas of expertise that are completely new to me.

What is the purpose of your job role?

To advise our clients on climate change.

Tell us about a project you have been working on recently

The Green Cities and Infrastructure Programme (GCIP) is the main delivery mechanism of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)’s Centre of Expertise in Green Cities and Infrastructure (GCI).

It’s a programme that is harnessing the UK’s expertise in urban development and infrastructure to address poverty, increase economic growth and enhance climate resilience in low/middle-income countries. It does this by catalysing investment in sustainable infrastructure and improving municipal finance and public services – creating jobs and improving productivity. It’s managed by a consortium which includes Mott MacDonald.

What do you love about what you do?

I love knowing that the projects I work on (if delivered effectively) can be extremely impactful in positive ways. Naturally too, working in international development means I’m able to interact with people from different parts of the world regularly and that cultural exchange is really important and valuable to me.

Another aspect is that often people working in international development have made a conscious decision to work in that space. As a result, I really enjoy spending time and learning from the people I work with.

Are there any challenges affecting your work?

The current geopolitical situation is having an impact on everyone in the international development and climate change sector landscape.

What skills and competencies do you need for your job?

The skills I need to do my role is a technical understanding of climate change, the ability to think analytically and be proactive, strong presentation and listening skills, the capacity to work in complex environments and people skills.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to do your role?

For me, it’s the importance of putting yourself out there and taking action. It can be hard (like anything) to get into international development but networking is hugely important and very valuable to learning more about the sector, roles, and skillsets needed. At the end of the day, you’ll never know if you don’t ask!

This article was first published on Thursday 11 April 2024.

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