Reading previous articles about becoming a Chartered Water and Environmental Manager (C.WEM) made me realise how important it is to share our own unique stories. Each journey is naturally different so I feel everyone should feel encouraged to apply for Chartered membership at CIWEM.
Applying for Chartership was a desire of mine for a long time. I’m an Environmental Engineer and Economist from Hungary and initially thought that being a foreigner in the UK with an different educational and professional background would be a blocker. I have since learned that all experiences are considered when you apply for Chartership, and these differences can be our biggest strengths.
Therefore, my most important message I would like to convey is that valuing yourself, living and working with enthusiasm and not being afraid to show your true passion are the best competencies for Chartership.
Upon completing my first degree in economics, I worked in proposal writing and tendering, but never felt that the role or the discipline of economics was truly meant for me. I felt I could do more than economics and I hoped to combine that knowledge with something tangible in a meaningful way.
I always felt a passion for natural sciences and had solid interests in making the world a better place by being creative and innovative. Thus, environmental engineering seemed to be a perfect match for my analytical mindset and interests. I studied Environmental Engineering at the University of Pecs in Hungary and after winning the highest governmental scholarship in a year later of my enrolment, I eventually graduated significantly ahead of my class in 2016.
I must admit it was very challenging to work and study at the same time. To support myself financially, I came to the UK during the summer of 2015 to look for new opportunities to support the completion of my studies. I was soon offered a role as an environmental engineer at a start-up waste-to-energy (gasification) company in Cambridge while I was still working on my degree.
Following the completion of my degree, I then worked in asset management and supply performance for an UK water utility company. I made a conscious decision to pick up all types of knowledge that could lead me towards energy and carbon management as I realised this was the field that I felt being most aligned to, with my goal of making the world a better place. I am now working as a senior carbon and energy consultant with my specialty being all kinds of carbon relations of waste, water and energy management.
Looking back on the journey I made so far, I truly believe that, to become successful, takes a lot of ingredients, but the most important one is passion. Finding a vocation is a wonderful feeling, and getting Chartered is the best route to develop yourself even further as it gives you a better understanding of yourself as a professional. The competencies can look scary at first, but if we give them a better look, we realise that they are built up naturally during our various experiences in life.
I believe that the biggest barrier to the application is finding the confidence that you have collected enough experiences, and you have all the competencies needed. Therefore, finding the right sponsors, who can commit to you and will guide you through the process is key in overcoming this.
Building up the application can be tricky as you will find yourself busy already with work and this process take a lot of time effort. But with excellent sponsors, as mine were, you would be advised how to review and think through what you truly want to convey in the application.
If you feel that one or even two of your competencies are not strong enough, ask for advice whether this is actually the case. Sometimes, we don`t see our own capabilities realistically, and an experienced mentor could lead you in the right direction.
In the professional interview, most candidates consider talking about one or two projects they participated in for their presentation, instead of their journey of growth.
I chose to talk about how my own experience with carbon management changed over the last years and how I developed and learnt from my own mistakes. I believe the competencies came across naturally when answering the interviewers’ questions.
Although challenging, I thoroughly enjoyed my interview, because the questions were interesting, and I still think about them a lot because they were truly asking about my own opinion of industrial issues and how I could overcome certain challenges in a creative way.
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