Name: Emma Cunningham – HSEQ Undergraduate Placement Student
Education and Route into Engineering:
After completing High School, I went straight into working in the food service industry and then took a career break to have a family. Once my children were a bit older and settled into school, I had the opportunity to return to education and completed the Queens University Access Course at a local further education college, which led me to studying Environmental Health at undergraduate level at the University of Ulster.
Current Role and Responsibilities:
As a placement student within the HSEQ department at Alternative Heat, I have had the opportunity to work on RAMS and COSHH assessments, KPI’s, waste management, recycling and developing an Environmental Aspects and Impacts Table to identify areas for improvement within the company.
I have also had the opportunity to take full ownership of the development and deployment of several improvement schemes and am currently launching a ‘Don’t Walk By’ scheme to encourage reporting of incidents and suggestions on H&S throughout the sites.
Thoughts on Current Role:
Gaining my placement within the HSEQ department of a busy and progressive company has allowed me to gain experience and further my understanding of core Health and Safety topics. While giving me the scope to focus on my passion for the environment. The role is so varied there is always something interesting and new to be involved with.
I am using this year of placement to gain knowledge and develop my skills as much as possible before returning to university to complete final year. Based on my experience so far within Alternative Heat, I definitely intend to pursue a career within HSEQ when I graduate.
Advice to others contemplating a career in the sector:
Returning to education as a mature student can be daunting at first but the whole experience has been a positive one and very empowering. Especially with a company like Alternative Heat, who have been so supportive in allowing me to develop and gain confidence in my skills and myself going forward.