National Careers Week: Putting a sustainable twist on your career
While there is still a long way to go, it is undeniable that attitudes towards sustainability are shifting in a positive direction. According to Deloitte, in the past 12 months, 61% of consumers have reduced their usage of single-use plastics and 39% have cut back on the number of new products they buy. With many of us changing our ecological behaviour in our personal lives, there are a growing number of job seekers who are pursuing careers that incorporate sustainability.
There is a common misconception that the pursuit of a sustainable career prevents you from a fast-paced, high-profile working experience synonymous with big corporate roles. There is also the myth that for you to have a sustainable career and make a positive difference you are limited to jobs specifically in the sustainability sector, such as environmental engineering, ecology and sustainability coordination. This could not be further from the truth!
At Techbuyer we are committed to providing our team with a fast-paced, dynamic, rewarding employee experience while also creating an environment whereby all employees can contribute towards the realisation of our sustainability goals. In celebration of National Careers Week, we are sharing the stories of four of our valued employees who have developed their ‘traditional’ careers to embody sustainability.
Nour Rteil, Software Application Developer – The Interact project
Nour Rteil is the Lead Application Developer at Techbuyer and the Lead Researcher and Developer at Interact. Nour studied computer and communications engineering at university. She went on to become an associate for the Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the University of East London and Techbuyer. It was here that Nour was introduced to Techbuyer and the research project, headed up by Richard Kenny (IT Director at Techbuyer) and Astrid Wynne (Sustainability Lead at Techbuyer), investigating how to measure the efficiency of servers and optimise server refresh cycles. With the help of academic leader Dr. Rabih Bashroush, a world expert on energy usage in the digital sector, Nour began her research.
Two years of research, one IEEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) published paper and hundreds of hours of experimentation later, it was clear that the potential benefits of these findings were too big to ignore. Nour led the way in creating Interact (Techbuyer’s sister company), the first non-intrusive, user-friendly, scientific, secure and vendor-neutral tool for IT hardware analysis and upgrade recommendations. Nour’s dedication to sustainability through technology didn’t stop there! She is now part of Techbuyer’s research team that is working to improve the efficiency of server performance to create a more eco-friendly data centre industry globally.
“During my time at Techbuyer, I had the opportunity to work with and learn from several experts in the sector about the sustainability issues and targets that data centres are working towards. I love that through ‘Interact’, we are helping data centres become greener, by realising the impact of their IT equipment and tackling their wasted IT energy. I hope that we continue to grow this positive impact and help more data centres in the coming years.” - Nour Rteil
Through her partnership with Techbuyer, Nour was able to pursue her passion for computer engineering whilst also having a sustainability-focused career that is having a positive impact on the global IT industry.
Nick Hayhurst, Junior Software Developer – Bringing hardware back to life
While working as Techbuyer’s RMA stock controller, Nick noticed that hard-disk drives (HDDs) and solid-state drives (SDDs) were the items most commonly coming back with faults. Nick was compelled to do something about this. He attended a seminar on the material composition of devices. After discovering that recycling rarely recovers rare-earth elements such as neodymium and electronic equipment from HDDs and SSDs, Nick decided to see if we could find a way of stopping these materials from going to waste. In short, he wanted to avoid the recycling process altogether by recovering failed drives and returning them to saleable condition.
Using Genesis, a tool developed by our client and partner Ultra Test that detects and repairs faults found within disk drives, Nick was able to drastically reduce the number of drives heading to recycling, meaning we can further extend the lifespan of technology. Not only has this resulted in a saving of more than 270kg of waste, it has also saved our business in excess of £7,500 of viable stock. Nick is committed to integrating the lessons he learned from the process he developed. He is constantly finding new fixes and solutions to reduce the impact our business has on the environment. These findings all get recorded onto our systems through a centralised Wiki page that he manages.
“Joining the Sustainability Committee really bolstered my passion for this project; after hearing many facts and stats from the Committee, I wanted to do my part where possible. Fortunately, Techbuyer adopts the ‘give-it-a-go' ethos on new and interesting ideas, which meant I was given the freedom to demo, assess and analyse with the full backing from the Ops Team, who have been pleased with the results so far!” - Nick Hayhurst
Since Nick’s discovery, he has been promoted to UK Junior Software Developer to work full-time on developing his own waste-reducing software. Watch this space!
Paula Strang, German Marketing Co-ordinator - Forging sustainable partnerships
Paula hails from Leipzig in Eastern Germany. She moved to the UK to study media, communications and cultural studies at Newcastle University. Paula went on to study for her Master's degree in digital media & society at the University of Sheffield. She has a passion and a natural affinity for breaking down complex information to make it more easily digestible for audiences, so a career in marketing was the obvious choice!
As well as her keen interest and abilities in marketing, Paula also has a real passion for sustainability and the environment - she even cycles to work on her trust fold-up bike Rodney! She puts this passion to work through her involvement with the Sustainability Committee. The committee helps to steer our organisation and the wider industry in the most sustainable direction, members plan events/activities and work towards and report on our progress in achieving our sustainability targets. Just recently Paula played a pivotal part in Techbuyer joining the PREVENT Waste Alliance in Germany. The alliance brings together organisations from the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions worldwide. It serves as a platform for the exchange of ideas and the promotion of international cooperation towards the goal of creating a circular economy.
“I knew when I left university that I wanted my first graduate job to be something that had meaning. I had a decent understanding of sustainability when I started my role at Techbuyer but I was surprised by the range and scale of corporate sustainability targets that the company is working towards. I love that I can actively contribute to a greener planet through my work, and I can’t wait to get stuck into more of our projects in 2022.” - Paula Strang
Paula has a deep-rooted motivation to make a real difference and to contribute towards a more sustainable world. It is our goal to ensure that we create an environment where this exceptional drive can be channelled and harnessed to deliver a positive impact across our business.
Alan Fisher, ITAD Business Improvement Manager – Striving for process perfection
If there is one person who personifies our IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) service it would be Alan Fisher.
Our ITAD service has the key objective to keep quality IT hardware in use to prevent e-waste and avoid unnecessary technology manufacturing. We utilise our global sales infrastructure to remarket data sanitised IT equipment to secondary users around the world. It is Alan’s job to identify improvements in our ITAD process to drive efficiencies in both the speed of production and the use of resources. This ties in with our commitment to the UN Global Goals - the more equipment we can keep in the reuse chain the more value it represents to the planet and the business.
In his free time Alan is engaged with the maker community (a contemporary subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY), he has an inquisitive nature and a noticeable talent for exploring and solving problems. Alan is also a prominent member of the Round Table; he plans and coordinates charitable events and fundraisers. This passion outside of work has equipped Alan to be perfectly positioned to enhance the sustainability of our ITAD operation. He played a pivotal role in developing our partnerships with the amazing charities IT Schools Africa and Reusing IT. These charities are leading the way in ensuring universal technology access globally. They provide quality IT equipment to schools here and in the most deprived areas around the globe to equip all children with the skills needed to thrive in a digital world. This partnership means that the percentage of IT equipment that we reuse is now even higher.
“Donations are currently sent to two outlets, Reusing IT and IT Schools for Africa. The latter is particularly close to my heart as I spent six months travelling Africa in 2012 and volunteered at a couple of schools en-route. The value of this equipment and training to isolated communities is incredible!” - Alan Fisher
Throughout his career at Techbuyer, Alan has been able to exercise his resourcefulness in a work environment and he has coupled this with his profound calling to help others. The result? Our ITAD service is now more efficient than ever and we are able to make a tangible difference to the welfare of people and our planet.
Techbuyer careers centre around People, Planet and Profit. We are committed to providing rewarding and meaningful careers that are geared towards the future. The four stories above are just a glimpse of what is possible at Techbuyer and what can be accomplished when people are given the freedom to define the direction of their careers.
It is our goal to empower people, to solve problems, to challenge perceptions, to influence change. If Techbuyer sounds like somewhere you want to be, check out our careers page or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.