CitySwitch has partnered with RMIT University Melbourne for a third year running to help Signatories identify potential improvements to their resource consumption. The partnership delivers valuable advice for Signatories while giving RMIT’s Environment Pollution Management students a real-world client based experience.
A total off 55 students and 15 Signatories will work together on site to identify improvements in resource consumption. Signatories participating in previous years have found the experience both insightful and rewarding. On evaluating last years Signatories, one contact said:
“It was great to have the group provide independent feedback to our management and explain why, from an external perspective, changing the waste system and introducing individual compost bins was a good idea."
Over the coming weeks, the student groups will gather primary and secondary data on their Signatories resource use and analyse options for cost and environmental savings. Each group works with their Signatory to determine which resources areas are of interest and significance before undertaking their investigation. Areas of investigation include: energy use through lighting and equipment, waste generation and procurement, staff and corporate travel and water usage. The groups also complete an indicative NABERS assessment as part of their assignment.
2011 Victorian CitySwitch Signatory of the Year the Public Transport Ombudsman (PTO) was a past participant in the RMIT student group projects. While already a leader in office energy efficiency, the RMIT student group were still able to offer meaningful recommendations to the PTO and quantified the cost and carbon savings from previously implemented actions.
The detailed reports produced can be utilised by Signatories in their action planning and reporting for CitySwitch.
The majority of Signatories participating in 2010 and 2011 also recognised the role they were playing in adding to the students learning experience. When asked ‘why did your business take on a student team’, more respondents recognised the benefit to the students as a higher priority than cost or environmental savings for their own business.
With graduates of the RMIT course going on to work in government, the private sector and NGOs, the opportunity to build networks into industry is a vital part of their training. One such graduate of the RMIT course, Liam Henderson recently signed his organisation, Baptcare, up to CitySwitch. As Sustainability Coordinator of Baptcare, Liam recalls his time as a student working with clients:
“The opportunity to gain industry experience through client-based projects while still at uni was a tremendously valuable stage in my professional development. It enabled me to apply my knowledge and develop my skills while providing me with examples of work experience that really helped during job interviews. I think most valuable of all; client-based projects at uni built my confidence and made me feel that I was ready to make the transition from uni into the professional workforce.”
CitySwitch in Victoria is proud to facilitate this transitional experience for the students, supporting the next wave of environmental professionals as they emerge. The offering for Signatories is unique and incredibly valuable with the resource efficiency reports providing new insights and building the business case for organisational sustainability.