2012 graduate award winner revealed

10th December 2012

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Lorna Pilbin has been named the IEMA graduate award winner for 2012.

All of the award's finalists attended the Edie sustainability leaders awards in London on 5 December where IEMA’s Jan Chmiel and Neil Pennell from the award’s sponsor Land Securities announced Pilbin as the winner of the £1,000 prize, and named Lucy Barrett and Hayley Jewitt as this year’s joint runners-up.

Winner – Lorna Pilbin

Pilbin is an environmental assistant at British Gypsum (part of the Saint-Gobain group), a global company with close to 1,000 manufacturing and distribution sites in the UK and Ireland.

Having originally joined British Gypsum in 2007 for her gap year, Pilbin returned to work at the organisation each summer to gain experience during her degree. She became a full-time member of staff in September 2011 after graduating with first-class honours in environmental science from the University of Plymouth.

In her role, Pilbin focuses on water management, becoming the first employee to implement Saint-Gobain’s global water-use policy. This involved researching, understanding, developing and applying relevant tools and techniques. As a result, Pilbin has spent much of 2012 leading group work on the water policy, developing tools and methodologies to gauge usage and waste across several operational sites. Part of this project involved a pioneering and highly successful pilot study, which led to the roll-out of Pilbin’s evaluations across all priority sites in the UK.

The success of the pilot led to Pilbin being asked to present her work and lead a practitioner workshop at Saint-Gobain’s global safety, health, environment and risk forum in Germany. A further opportunity to establish her methodologies as best practice came at the company’s 2012 UK, Ireland and South Africa environment, health and safety forum, where Pilbin presented the work to other brands and businesses that operate under the Saint-Gobain name.

Nominator’s comments: “Lorna personifies the type of young people we need to encourage into the organisation. Lorna’s professionalism in her conduct and in the way she communicates with her colleagues at all levels of the business bring a level of respect and credibility both to her personally and the subject area, allowing both her and ourselves to make real progress against our environmental targets.” Allen Gorringe, head of environment, Saint-Gobain

Judges’ comments: “Lorna’s nomination and supporting evidence clearly demonstrates not only her passion for the environment, but also her professionalism and ability to innovate and lead projects. Her range of skills is impressive, enabling her company to achieve its targets and, by working at a strategic level, she has effectively engaged colleagues and stakeholders to make change happen.”

Runner-up – Lucy Barrett

Barrett was initially employed on a six-month contract as an environment management system assistant at Stockport Homes, which manages the housing stock owned by Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council. She has an MSc in environmental management and sustainable development from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Through her environmental, research, engagement and communication skills, Barrett successfully implemented innovative and creative approaches to managing and reducing waste on housing estates in Stockport. Part of her project involved procuring a new waste contractor, which should reduce expenditure on waste by 50%.

Her contribution to the organisation has proved to be so valuable that her line manager applied for additional funding in order to secure her position for a further six months.

Nominator’s comments: “I am delighted with Lucy’s development while working at Stockport Homes. She arrived as a shy, inexperienced student and has progressed very well to competently oversee multiple workloads.” Joe Keating, environment and energy manager, Stockport Homes

Judges’ comments: “The amount Lucy has achieved in just six months, particularly in a first role, is commendable. Her methods for engaging residents in Stockport Homes’ waste segregation and reduction scheme are remarkable and she is evidently an asset to the organisation.”

Runner-up – Hayley Jewitt

Jewitt received her nomination as a result of a short placement with Manchester Metrolink (MPT), which she undertook while studying towards her Laing O’Rourke-sponsored degree in environmental management.

During her three-month spell with MPT, Jewitt became a key member of the health, safety, environment and quality team. Her ability to learn fast and take on responsibility for representing MPT at important meetings, communicating recommendations, reporting and liaising with stakeholders proved invaluable. Jewitt also headed award-winning corporate responsibility efforts and organised environmental training forums to ensure the involvement and engagement of staff.

In her current role as graduate environmental adviser at Laing O’Rourke, Jewitt now supports 10 sites across the North West of England. She has recently passed her IEMA environment management systems auditor training.

Nominator’s comments: “Hayley has developed to become a proactive, confident professional. She has simultaneously studied to gain a first-class degree, undertaken two-years’ work experience at MPT and gained AIEMA status. She has been able to take on more responsibilities due to her knowledge and training, and continues to extend her capabilities.” Andrew Campuzano, MPT

Judges’ comments: “Hayley was chosen as a runner-up due to the dedication she has shown to her field of work, studies and professional development. Her leadership – not only during the placement, but in chairing focus groups and in mentoring undergraduates – is inspiring.”

Graduates commended – Joseph Clark and Agnieszka Chuchla

Clark is engineering team leader and deputy environmental manager at SPP Pumps, a leading manufacturer of centrifugal pumps and associated systems. He has applied his knowledge of the environment in a voluntary support role, enabling the firm to achieve targets, save money and reduce its impacts.

Chuchla is a student environmental health and safety practitioner at Milliken and Company. She is described by her nominator as “the role model for anyone wanting to pursue a career as an environment professional”.


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