The GreenJobs Interview

Rob Power

Recruitment Manager, Mott MacDonald

Why did you decide to pursue a career in recruitment?

I started back in 1998 as a recruitment consultant and worked for 3 years focusing on recruitment in the aerospace, defence and telecommunications sectors. In 2001 I joined another agency where my focus was recruitment in the environment and utilities sector i.e. water and power. This was when Mott MacDonald became one of my clients.  I had a good working relationship with the larger consultancies and after six years in this field Mott MacDonald asked me to join their company which I was delighted to accept. I don't know if anyone willingly enters recruitment but I'm glad it went this way for me. Making a significant contribution to growing a business, especially when you're working internally and see this expand around you, is fantastic.

How long have you worked in recruitment?

Coming up for twelve years.  Most of them good.

Why did you decide to join Mott MacDonald?

There were two or three consultancies that I would have considered working for as I considered them to be the best in the industry in terms of an employer and the projects they worked on; Mott MacDonald was one of these. Following their initial approach I only very tentatively met for a discussion. I was sold on many factors and realised this was a golden opportunity not to be passed up. Two major reasons for this decision is that Mott MacDonald required me to travel with the role and they had a clear distinction between human resources and recruitment. Within Mott MacDonald recruitment is split into different sectors with my speciality being power generation recruitment. Other sectors include transmissions and distribution, buildings, water, transport etc.

We tailor the recruitment services that we provide for our different business units depending on what is required. This is appreciated by our directors as it allows us to recruit good numbers of high quality candidates.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a green career?

I think it's important that people decide from the outset what area of the green sector they want to work in as there is a big difference between working with a contractor, a utility or for a consultancy. I favour consultancy but everyone is different and each area holds a different attraction.

Flexibility is important as you can often spend periods of time overseas. It's also important that people are flexible within renewables.  For example, when we hire a good candidate who has predominantly worked in wind we will also train them to work in the solar sector. Our focus for new graduate recruitment tends to be people who can cross over a number of different renewable energy sectors.

If you are planning a green career then my advice is to choose a combination of two renewable energy areas within your studies, even if one was going to be a sub area.

How is the recruitment function structured within Mott MacDonald?

There is a clear distinction between human resources and recruitment in the energy sector at Mott MacDonald. Human resources focuses on looking after staff that work for the company. Recruitment works with the business to achieve it's growth objectives.  We look after the people that don't work for the company!

What’s the best bit about your job?

The best bit is making a significant contribution to the growth of the renewable industry. As a major global consultancy Mott MacDonald plays a crucial role in this process especially in our capacity as technical advisors on very large projects around the world in on/offshore wind, solar, biomass, hydropower etc. I get the same buzz from making a hire that I did when I was a recruitment consultant, but now it's for a different reason.

What have you done that you were most proud of?

I feel extremely proud to be working for Mott MacDonald. We have worked on the largest wind farm on the planet, almost every offshore wind farm, have an excellent portfolio which goes from strength to strength in solar, a strong carbon advisory etc. I filled a wind manager role in three weeks once. I let everyone know how proud I was of that! However, the main reasons that the individual accepted this role so quickly was due to the projects that he would be working on, the fact that he would have complete control of the overall management of the projects without outside interference, and that when required he would have a support network within the company of hundreds of highly qualified renewables staff. He is now extremely happy with the decision that he made and a very valuable member of the Mott MacDonald team.

What is the key selection criteria that Mott MacDonald consider when hiring a new employee?

We recruit people that our clients will enjoy working with.  We like a flexible attitude, people who can self manage and ideally those with a flavour for travel. We get approached by a significant number of talented people who want to get out of organisations where micro management and hierachy are the norm.  We're very laterally managed and we like people that want to get stuck in and join in with the rest of us. Passion for the renewables sector is essential.

What type of environmental/green jobs does Mott MacDonald usually have available?

The types of jobs that we have available tend to vary depending on what projects we're working on. As I speak to you now I'm interested in offshore wind design and owner's engineers to join our very strong offshore major projects team.

What have the last 12 months been like for you in the recruitment market?

Half of 2009 was steady compared to the high volume recruitment of 2008.  We've been back to the high volume for some time now though which is excellent.

2008 was an extremely busy recruitment period where we recruited 180 people for the power generation division and 160 people for the transmissions and distribution division. We're pacing back toward this level again with no current signs of anything slowing down.

What environmental/renewable energy project globally would you most like to be involved with?

I'm very fortunate with regards to this as Mott MacDonald is involved in most of the major renewable energy projects worldwide and we have a big presence in Europe, China, South East Asia, Africa, Russia and North America. I get to recruit the people that will work on all of it

What are your interests and hobbies?

I enjoy travelling and have been trekking in location throughout the world such as Nepal, Peru, India and Burma.

If you were Prime Minister, what’s the very first thing you would do?

Lot's of things. Some would be for the country.  

What single issue are you most concerned about in the world at large?

The ash cloud.  I'm going on holiday in three weeks.

The Mott MacDonald Group is a management, engineering and development consultancy serving the public and private sectors world-wide.

Mott MacDonald's £1 billion business spans 120 countries with over 14,000

staff working in all sectors from transport, energy, buildings, water and the environment to health and education, industry and communications.

€4 billion pledged to Reduce Deforestation Emissions


Over 50 developed and developing countries have signed an agreement pledging to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation at the recent Oslo Climate and Forest Conference in Norway. As part of the deal, the countries have committed to spend over $4 billion in the next three years to reduce emissions from deforestation activities.


Forest degradation has a severe effect on climate change as it pumps out a massive amount of pollution. When forests are burned, degraded, or cleared, a huge volume of carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide along with other greenhouse gases (nitrous oxide, methane, and other nitrogen oxides).


Deforestation is thought to account for up to 20 percent of carbon-dioxide released into the atmosphere — as much as that emitted by all the world's cars, trucks, trains, planes and ships put together.


It is hoped that the new partnership will be a springboard for a post -2012 international climate agreement.

New hope in oil slick clean-up


BP has made some progress in its attempt to cap the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company’s undersea robots finally managed to place a cap at the seabed site of the leak after over 48 hours. However, the cap is only managing to contain some of the oil. It is hoped that the cap will facilitate the placing of further caps.

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen said that while the progess positive it was still only a temporary fix. "It will be some time before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment," he said.

The massive spill is threatening hundreds of species of fish, birds and other wildlife along the Gulf Coast, which is considered one of the world's richest seafood grounds. The livelihoods of hundreds of fishermen has been put in jeopardy as the no fishing zone has been extended as the oil as spread.

The oil has been pouring into the Gulf since 20th April when a drilling rig leased to BP exploded killing 11 workers. It is critical that the containment operation is a success as the leak is pumping 19,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico. It is feared that wind and currents will rapidly spread the oil slick, wreaking further devastation to the environment.

Obama is coming under increasing pressure to manage the crisis. The White House said it was about to send the company an initial bill of $69m for the clean-up operation.

Several rating agencies have indicated that the oil slick, which is the biggest in US history, will do BP lasting damage. BP's total financial cost of the response to the disaster stands at $990 million, and is rising.

Corporate giants to increase climate change spend

Seventy percent of firms with revenue of at least $1 billion have said they plan to increase spending on climate change initiatives in the next two years, according to a recent global survey.

300 corporate executives from 18 industry sectors ranging from airlines to consumer products participated in the Ernst & Young ‘Action Amid Uncertainty’ survey. The survey sought to find out corporate responses to climate change.

Fifty percent of the participants said they plan to invest in energy efficiency with energy costs being the catalyst for this. The levels of planned climate change investments divulged by the executives ranged from 0.5 percent of revenues to more than 5 percent.

The survey revealed that executives are acting on climate change initiatives because their customers expect it and because they believe they can make money, save money and manage risk. They understand that transforming their key processes makes good business sense.

There was overwhelming support for implementing climate change initiatives but most voiced concerns over regulatory difficulties.

Steve Starbuck, Americas Climate Change and Sustainability Services Leader at Ernst & Young LLP said  "Prudent executives recognize the wealth of opportunities to make money, save money and respond to stakeholders' expectations by integrating their climate change response into business plans and sustainability strategies."

Respondents were drawn from the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Japan,Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

British entrepreneur to build an eco-resort in Sierra Leone

Four years after setting up an eco-community on the Fijian island of Vorovoro, entrepreneur Ben Keene is going to West Africa for an even bigger challege. ‘Tribewanted Sierra Leone’ aims to bring his vision of cross cultural living to life. ‘Tribe members’ will work together with a local fishing village in the spectacular surroundings of the African country.

Sierra Leone has been beset with a plethora of problems including the blood diamond trade and civil war. The John Obey beach, 20 miles from the capital Freetown, will be the stunning setting for the scheme.

Tribewanted Sierra Leone has formed a partnership with the government, landowners and the local John Obey community in Sierra Leone to create an eco village community over the coming years to support sustainable development in the area.

“When you take part in the project you’re not sacrificing your hard earnt time-out for an intense volunteer programme nor are you replacing a much-needed beach holiday. You can sunbathe, build, swim, cook, canoe up river, trek, fish, play beach football, share skills, teach, drum round bonfires, and eat great seafood. You’re living alongside a local community whilst connecting with a global network of like-minded people,” said Keene.

Tribewanted Sierra Leone opens in October 2010 when work will start on building a beach village of eco-domes.

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