ENEP's Leonardo Project Assistants - Where are they now?
ENEP has been participating in the Leonardo da Vinci mobility programme for the past two years. Programme funding is sourced by Change Agents UK from the EU’s Lifelong learning programme. ENEP is a host organisation for recent graduates looking to develop their work skills and knowledge, in environmental policy and sustainability. This article takes a look back at the success of the programme and its participants.
Tessa Waite (September 2012–March 2013)
From the get go the ENEP management team entrusted me with a number of important responsibilities, which was a great learning experience for a recent graduate. I worked on a number of projects from helping to design the new ENEP website to supporting the development of a LIFE+ funding bid for over €100,000. During my 3 months with ENEP I was exposed to a number of new and exciting experiences, which helped me to acclimatise to the working world. These included networking at conferences, working with the Executive Committee and consultants, as well as managing events. All of this helped me to hone my project management and communication skills. My time in Brussels inspired me to stay in Belgium, and I have been here for just over a year now. After some time with the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium, I began an internship with the BP Brussels office and hope to stay in my current position for at least another year.
Alice Goodbrook (February-July 2013)
Since ENEP I have been fortunate enough to gain further experience within the environmental field. Over the summer I worked at British Gas New Energy on their ECO obligation systems, and since September I have taken up a partial scholarship to study for a masters in Leadership in Sustainable Development, at Forum for the Future.
The Masters is a bit of a dream come true for me as it is unique in offering four work placements throughout the year in a number of different sectors, allowing us to ‘try before we buy’. So far I have been sent back out to Brussels to the supermarket Delhaize, and I am currently based at the Welsh Government in Cardiff working on the Future Generations Bill, which aims to put sustainability at the heart of the Welsh Government.
My time at ENEP was integral in helping me get these opportunities. Not only did it give me the skills and experiences to draw upon in interviews, it also gave me the confidence to get stuck into work straight away – invaluable during a 6-week placement!
I wish all of you, and ENEP, all the luck and good fortune for the future!
Daniel Gosling (April-July 2013)
I was ENEP Project Assistant from April to July 2013. Though originally from the republic of Ireland, as a UK resident and MA student of environmental policy, I was eligible for a place on Change Agents’ Leonardo Da Vinci placement programme.
Working with ENEP in Brussels held a unique opportunity to experience and take part in the daily culture of environmental policy-making and lobbying on many levels; from working with small NGOs, ENEP’s partner networks, all the way to engaging with representatives from EU institutions. Indeed, on two occasions I was able to question the EU Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik himself! One of these can be read about in my blog on Change Agents’ website.
With ENEP I learnt to network effectively at EU Conferences, developed better confidence and communication skills in conversing and extracting information from experts in science, policy and event organisation, using both English and French. I worked on several projects during my time with ENEP; both on their Green Week 2013 appearance in June, and on a revamped website launched in September.
The experience also clarified how I could take my career forward on a national level, helping local stakeholders better understand EU environmental regulations and how policy is conducted there.
Since ending my internship with ENEP I have gained employment in a key UK government agency, coordinating a project to restructure and regionalise its business protocols. It is an important side-step and will allow me to re-enter a career in environmental project management in an even stronger position than then one I was in after finishing up with ENEP. ENEP helped me gain this position as my work there added to my project management portfolio and showed I had good initiative to work in new environments.
Frederick van Mierlo (October–December 2013)
My placement at ENEP has proved to be the perfect bridge between university and the world of work. At ENEP I have been responsible for researching and analysing policy developments at the EU level, including the production of the monthly Newsflash. I have also had the pleasure of working alongside ENEP partners, such as ACR+ on the organisation of the European Waste Management day in Sofia, Bulgaria. The programme has provided me with an excellent platform to begin a career in environmental policy and the EU. I have been able to gain vital practical experience (and wean myself off the comfort of the lecture hall); learn from the experience of ENEP and its members; and contribute to the development of a young and growing network. Gaining a foothold in Brussels is no easy task, but the level of support and flexibility offered by my role at ENEP has made this possible. As of January 2014 I will be starting a 6-month traineeship as a junior consultant at Harwood Levitt Consultancy (HLC) based in Brussels. In this role I hope to build upon my experience of NGOs and the ENEP network to build climate friendly partnerships with businesses and enterprises
In Febuary ENEP will welcome Monika Baunach for a three month placement. I would like to wish her and ENEP lots of success in the future