Today, the number of graduates (MSc’s, Planning/ME/MTechs and MBA’s) in environmental science, planning and engineering is growing. Specializations such as MBA in environmental management and environmental economics have come up.
I receive on an average five emails a day asking for a job at the consulting company I run. I ensure that me or my colleague Sonal Alvares respond. Responding timely, either way, is a matter of showing respect.
In most cases, I find that the CVs are generally weak (and not well written too) showing lack of “experience” and “poor” qualifications. Most applicants come from mediocre institutions that you may not even know. We regret these applicants but with some guidance. I however wonder and worry how these young students and professionals can get the jobs that can inspire and train to help build their careers. We need a large number of professionals in the field of environmental management today – professionals with a vision having a “systems perspective” (no silo thinking) and most importantly work with ethics. The latter to me is the biggest challenge. Teachers have an important role here to play.
At my consulting company we have been conducting an environmental internship program over the past 15 years. A good internship not only provides “practice training” but also opens job opportunities. So far we have trained around 70+ interns. My colleague Sonal Kaushik manages this activity and does it very diligently and with a passion.
Each year we receive a huge number of applicants from top institutions in India and overseas. We go through the drill of assessing the CVs, reviewing Statements of Purpose, asking for writing assignments to select the “best” and the “most appropriate” interns. The internship program runs over a minimum of 2 months where the intern works on some of our “live” projects. The intern makes a weekly work plan. We coach accordingly and track the progress. There are interim and final presentations and the final report is reviewed. Most of the times the outputs produced are of high quality deserving a publication. That adds a credibility to the interns work (and also to the “mentor”!). Box below shows a sample of internship projects completed in my company.
|Green Building Assessment Systems, Sustainability Reporting: Mapping GRI Guidelines with NVGs, Carbon Footprint in the Industrial & Regional Context, Development of Framework to assess Status of Environmental Compliance in Industries, Creation of Knowledge base on Resource and Emission Benchmarks for Industries, Environmental and Social Governance at Financial Institutions, Development of Framework for Sustainability Assessment of Mobile Phones, Directory on Green Office Supplies ……|
The feedback that we have received on our Internship Program has been extremely positive and encouraging. But there is a limit, how much we can do. We feel sad to turn down a deserving internship application just because of shortage of space in our office or due to our limited bandwidth for coaching.
I wish I could develop something “huge” on a nationwide scale to handle 1000 young environmental students every year across say 30 academic institutions “feeding them” as interns to corporations, corporates, NGOs and R&D institutions in the environmental and social arena.
My dream is to set up an Environmental Internship Portal that will allow institutions to place their requirements and interested students to place their CVs, durations and interests. We will then do a “match making” and coach the intern on-line through a specially designed e-learning module to “prepare” for the internship. Coaching may be extended during the internship program – again through a web/mobile platform – as a support. As a sequel, the “portal” will also provide placement service and an opportunity to update for a “lifelong environmental education”. So you “log in” as an intern and “grow to be a mentor” and later lead as a “job provider”.
That’s going to be my next BIG step – if I succeed the first one!!
Anyone from my blog readers interested to steer this initiative with me or partner? I am simply not able to “see” someone with “fire in the belly” for last several years. I get sleepless nights – one of the reasons I guess for my sleep apnea!
And any angle investors to support this Portal? I have a decent business model with me for the investors “comfort”.
Several years ago I ran a 4 day “Finishing School” in Environmental Management at NITIE, Powai, Mumbai. A second such school was run at NIIT, Suratkal over 2 days. DISHA, a 1 day flagship program on Career Counseling on Environmental Management was conducted as a series in Mumbai and Pune.
You will be able to read the reports on these events at www.ekonnect.net.
All these programs were received very enthusiastically. There is great need that we organize such programs at multiple locations in the country and on the campus of academic institutions. Will be great if under the proposed Portal we establish a “network” of academic institutions who offer DISHA on their campuses on an annual basis.
I have always been either a “free radical” or an entrepreneur. I love to see when folks working with me start up independent “business” in the environmental arena. To me this is a performance indicator of my business.
I see a great need that we “populate” the environmental manufacturing and services market with bright environmental professionals who mean quality and bring on board the innovation. I dream of someone like a JRD or Murthy or Premji or Darbari Seth equivalent to lead the environmental business in India. Oh, what a transformational change it will be? Today most of the environmental business organizations we see in India are either small, more of trading agencies representing technologies/equipment of overseas suppliers, delivering services like consents/clearances with “appropriate expertise” and conducting kind of environmental monitoring (that is as good as generating random numbers!). And then there are some very “respectable” and “intellectual” international ones, who specialize in making documents that look pretty as they carry the right font and the visuals.
I am looking therefore towards some “fizz” coming in our sector and people/organizations who do things differently with “innovation” and “confidence” on the scale we need. My dream is to excite youth and build their capacities to become entrepreneurs with mentors/investors standing behind them (like tall shadows). We need to build this community badly who could provide drinking water solutions and sanitation infrastructure on a “scale” for India’s villages; come up with inexpensive outdoor and indoor air quality monitors, provide smart grids for energy delivery, establish waste to resource plants or provide services that can help us to restore, conserve and even monetize our bio-resources. The possibilities are simply endless across the country. I would say that each one of us should pledge to “create” at least one environmental entrepreneur every year. Is that too much to ask?
I will be conducting first program on Coaching Environmental Entrepreneurs in October this year over 2 days. Essentially a new form of DISHA. The course will have to be residential. Location will most likely be Pune. I am putting all my thoughts and experience in the course “design”. I will be most happy to receive your inputs and guidance to make this first event a success.
If I could train 20 bright minds and get at least 5 startups ongoing (with support extended), I will be the most happy person.
A yet another dream I guess.
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