Gemma graduated from her physical geography degree in 2002...
Her course covered issues in climate change which particularly interested her and she became even more enthusiastic about the subject when she chose this topic for her final year project. On graduating she undertook some voluntary work in Iceland where she witnessed the effects of global warming in a national park. After this experience she decided that she wanted to pursue a career related to these issues.
When she returned to the UK she knew she had no interest in working for a commercial organisation, but wanted to be involved in an organisation which worked towards changing attitudes, taking action towards alleviating environmental problems such as those arising from climate change and working towards sustainable solutions.
Initially, Gemma had problems finding any appropriate work even though she was willing to volunteer, but she was told about Student Force for Sustainability that have a wide range of projects available. She managed to secure a post working with the energy efficiency department of a local authority investigating renewable sources of energy. This position led to other projects with the government departments investigating domestic energy efficiency. She later managed an energy efficiency advice centre for the Energy Saving Trust .
Gemma decided to take a postgraduate qualification in climate change, impact and sustainability to enhance her experience as she wanted to move into a more strategic role where she would be developing policies relating to these issues. She subsequently secured her present role with a local authority where she is involved in the implementation of their climate change action plan.
She would advise anyone wanting to enter a career in energy management to look out for opportunities to gain different experiences. She firmly believes that she has attained her present position by moving organisations to build on her expertise and to extend her network of contacts. She would advise students who are interested in entering the profession to take advantage of volunteer schemes at their university to start exploring and identifying particular areas of enthusiasm and to hone skills which will help them embark on their future career.
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