CO U R S E S & C A REERS Opportunities Environmental chemists: Environmental chemists have important roles in the wellbeing of society as they are tasked with the monitoring the safety levels of resources as part of waste management. By carrying out analytical tests to determine source and extent of pollution and contamination in water, air and soil, environmental chemists have a hand in safeguarding people’s health. Hazardous waste management technologist (Hazmat): Many centres are being set up around the world today to dispose of and manage petrochemicals and hazardous waste. As this is a relatively new ﬁeld in environmental science, chemists in this ﬁeld are responsible for detecting and identifying chemical pollutants in air, water and soil. This task requires a high afﬁnity for teamwork as the scientists are required to work together with biologists, toxicologists and water and soil chemists. Waste management engineers: Commonly referred to as technicians, waste management engineers design plans and systems that can convert waste into useable energy. These valuable energy includes heating, electricity and fuels for transport, site remediation and pollution control technology. Special experience in technical drawing will be an added advantage for potential candidates in this ﬁeld. 26 easyuni Guide 2015 Issue 6 A day in the life of a waste management career You will be organising and managing the waste disposal, collection and management of a recycling facility. You may also be responsible for waste treatment and street cleaning operations within speciﬁc localities. You could also be hired as a consultant to numerous organisations, communities and local authorities to ensure compliance with legislation on the safe handling and disposal of waste. Some positions combine waste management and recycling functions, while others prefer to split them into separate jobs. As such, your scope may include recycling and waste management matters to tackle problems, improve disposal methods and highlight the various beneﬁts of recycling. You will also need to keep updated and concise statistical records as well as manage budgets and ensure targeted quotas in local and national platforms are achieved. People skills would be useful when liaising with various environment experts and recycling ofﬁcers in the establishment and management of recycling centres. There are also times when you will need to handle queries and complaints from the general public and set up meetings with community representatives or industrial companies to analyse and tailor strategies to their needs. Waste management specialists can secure employment in places such as waste management ﬁrms and recycling companies, environmental and engineering agencies, private waste management and consultancies and local authorities (county, district or metropolitan councils). Other industries include health care, automotive, energy and tourism. Your role requires the ability to grasp complex and dynamic legislation and capacity to explain, apply and monitor such legislations and have a complete understanding of the efﬁcient and effective management of waste. You should also have excellent communication skills, both verbal and written, and good administrative skills. Good managerial skills and understanding of budgets is ideal, as well as patience and resilience. As your scope will include the preparation of reports and budgets, you should be able to use spreadsheets and databases, and be able to interpret statistical information and present reports. Finally, you must be able to prioritise and meet deadlines and also be an excellent team player with good leadership and management qualities.