Varied, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable! This is how I would describe my time with ClearLead Consulting (CLC).
As part of the Global Sustainability Solutions Masters course at the University of Exeter, the Green Consultants module acted as an introduction to any students with aspirations of joining the consultancy industry. A crucial component of the course and the most significant reason for enrolling on the module in the first place, is a 3-week internship with a company operating within the sustainability sector. After selecting ClearLead Consulting as my preferred choice, only to later realise most of my cohort had done the same, I was relieved to discover the timeliness of my response had paid off. As an international energy, carbon and sustainability consultancy, their main services include amongst others, carbon foot-printing and carbon neutrality, compliance services, energy efficiency and cost reduction.
Initially, I was in two minds about the internship. Whilst the information I could gather about CLC (the website, correspondents, and location) were very encouraging signs that this would be a worthwhile experience, I knew there was a tendency for companies to traditionally give interns the tedious, more menial tasks. To my avail, I quickly realised this was not the case with ClearLead.
My first day in the office was filled with the normalities of any first day at a new company and was far less stressful than I had expected it to be. I was given a very warm welcome by all the staff members in the office that day and felt instantly comfortable. A rundown of the company, the services provided, clientele, structure, and staff gave me a helpful overview of how the company operates from day-to-day.
Immediately, I could see that CLC led by example. Internal sustainability is clearly a core value and an inherent feature of the way the company is run. Set on the Beautiful Cadhay Manor Estate, newly renovated office offers a light and collaborative workspace. All commercial offices on the estate are heated by biomass, a considerably lower carbon emitter compared to fossil fuels. Reducing CLC’s own carbon footprint was clearly a priority. This was evident in my first assignment. Tasked with calculating the extent to which CLC had helped reduce clients carbon footprint over the course of the company’s lifetime, they wanted to better understand the effectiveness of their work. The project soon evolved into ways in which CLC might reduce their own carbon footprint, with a survey aimed to gauge what employees thought the ideal method would be to achieve this.
From here the work became increasingly varied. Offering such a range of services, I was able to interact with all sides of the business, from carbon footprint, supply chain engagement and emission compliance to sustainability appraisals, residential pollution research and investigation into the case for supplementing natural gas with hydrogen. No two days were the same, something that I came to appreciate is an integral characteristic of consultancy work. One element of CLCs operations that particularly struck me was their desire for wider pro-environmental engagement, often linking work back to the public. A Project on GIS visualisation tools to condense and more clearly present long sustainability appraisals to readers was a clear indication of this. Additionally, CLC have voiced aspirations to be more included with the university, offering workshops and guest lectures in several module, where real-world examples would be of huge benefit to students.
Ultimately, the internship has opened my eyes to the importance of work experience. It has given me a broader understanding of the standards expected in the workplace and identified crucial gaps in my knowledge that academia struggles to cover. The value of work experience cannot be overstated, and I encourage graduates in any discipline to investigate these kinds of opportunities as a means of improving their employability.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone at ClearLead Consulting for the opportunity. The level of responsibility and personal feel of the company gave me a very genuine sense of inclusivity I was not expecting. I was made to feel like a valued member of the team for the short while I was there. Thank you.
If anyone is interested in gaining experience with ClearLead Consulting, please get in touch via their website: