Interview with Jackie Smith (Hons Environmental Science), Senior Environmental Consultant

Description of your work setting/environment (desk/in a field/driving/meetings etc)

I spend most of my work career at my desk. At the onset of projects the consultant will undertake a site visit (environmental assessment) which will feed into the reports we generate. This may require the need to travel nationally. Meetings are also undertaken to cover the following:
• Progress/status of project
• Technical inputs and outputs of project

Summary of what most days look like for you

Most days entail writing reports to address and assess environmental impacts associated with specific projects. This may be in the form of completing a template (produced by the governmental departments) or compiling a report in the WSP template.

I am currently working on 5 different projects. Time is captured on a daily basis and billed to each project. I am responsible for managing budgets, timesheets and invoicing for each project. I am also responsible for writing proposals and undertaking business development (i.e. engaging with potential clients about what services WSP has to offer).

The pros and cons of your job

Pros:
• Constantly learning and developing technical skills as each project is different.
• Interactive relationship with clients, sub-consultants and staff.

Cons:
• Difficulty in contacting / engaging with governmental officials allocated at assessing individual projects.
• Travelling/undertaking public notification processes in rural areas (safety concern).

Does your job involve designing something, assembling something or growing something?

No.

What skills/competencies do you need in order to do your job?
• Teamwork: When working with a multi-disciplinary team it is important to ensure that the entire team understands the set responsibilities, deliverables, and timeframes.
• Delegation: project manager needs to delegate well to ensure service is provided timeously.
• Succinct reporting skills.
• Confidence when undertaking a public / authority meeting.
• Good communication skills.
• Energy, enthusiasm and drive (most projects are lengthy).
• Budget management

Please describe the steps you had to take to secure your job?

I have obtained my honours degree in Environmental Science. Tertiary education with a minimum of an honours degree is required.

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