A “roots up” mentality where hard work pays off, and solid investment in projects and training: Nicholas Invernizzi, Pre-Construction Manager at Keltbray Remediation, tells us why now is an excellent time to join the remediation industry.
Q: How did you land your current job?
A: I met the Managing Director, Joe Jackson, at the Brownfield Briefing Awards, and he later contacted me through social media about the job opportunity. So traditional and modern networking both played a key part!
Q: What has helped you get where you are in your career?
A: Working for a competent and very diverse set of remediation contractors has allowed me to progressively take on more complex and senior responsibilities throughout my career development.
Q: Do you have any tips for people about to embark in your field on how to make a success out of their careers in sustainability?
A: In my experience, a career in remediation starts from a scientific or engineering background, usually in a graduate position from higher education. A typical entry level graduate would be working as a site scientist on remediation projects, completing environmental monitoring, soil and water sampling, site reporting and validation testing. These skills provide the backbone to understanding the basics of a remediation project.
Q: Who have been your role-models/mentors in your career?
A: I have had the opportunity to work under some very well qualified and technically minded directors. By working closely with upper management a wealth of knowledge can be gained to progress your career.
Q: What have been the stumbling blocks or barriers along the way?
A: The economic crisis beginning in 2008 hit the construction market very hard. This in turn dramatically affected the number of remediation projects that were started for redevelopment of brownfield sites, resulting in a lack of projects, extreme competition between rival companies, budget and staff cuts.
Q: What stages of your career have been the most challenging?
A: Working for a hazardous waste treatment operator in technical sales meant surpassing ever inflated budgets for overall profitability. Meeting monthly targets for overall tonnages was very challenging indeed.
Q: The most rewarding?
A: Joining the Keltbray Remediation team has been the culmination of nine years’ experience within the remediation industry. To join as their pre-construction manager is proof that hard work does pay off.
Q: What is key to getting the most out of your team/colleagues?
A: Having a background whereby your experience has allowed you to work in many different roles within the remediation industry. This “roots up” mentality allows the individual to relate to all aspects of a project, and therefore understand the complexities of how to manage a diverse team of individuals.
Q: What have been the groundbreaking instances or milestones in the sustainability field that have really changed the way you have to work? And how did you adapt to these events?
A: The movement away from the classic “Dig & Dump” methodology in remediation contracting of old; this brought in far more technical alternatives to remediation projects. It pushed contractors towards finding cost effective treatment solutions for soils and ground water, in-situ or ex-situ, but always with the overall goal to minimise off-site disposal. Further to that, the change in waste assessment for off-site disposal to meet the WM2 regulations impacted the waste industry as a whole.
Q: What qualifications have been necessary/most beneficial in your career?
A: SMSTS and NVQ qualifications for site management are crucial for on-site remediation activities. Further development in asbestos identification and management are also integral.
Q: Have you had much continuing professional development, has this been useful?
A: All the companies I have worked for have significantly invested in my professional development. Keltbray is however renowned for its personal development programmes, including youth schemes and apprenticeships.
Q: Could you sum up, in one sentence, what has changed in the industry since you first began your job?
A: The diversification of remediation contracting has led to a large increase in companies now providing remediation and enabling works packages. The overall methodologies have remained relatively similar, although government guidance, regulations and best practice solutions have changed dramatically.
Q: What does the future have in store for your industry – choppy waters ahead? Or a fruitful and secure future?
A: The remediation Industry has reacted extremely positively over the last couple of years. The housing development schemes, especially in the South East, have been the main catalyst for re-injecting much needed investment within the remediation sector. Now is an excellent time to think about a career within the remediation industry.