Life as a Kickstarter at ECC - Working for Essex

Life as a Kickstarter at ECC

Welcome – Thomas Yiangou!

Hi! I’m Thomas, a new employee of Essex County Council on the Kickstart Placement Scheme. I was a professional cyclist for three years, racing and training all over the world before getting a BSc in Environmental Geography & Climate Change followed by a MSc in Climate Change and International Development, at the University of East Anglia. Much of my work was based on relations between science and society, leaving me with a strong ambition to improve communications and initiatives from institutions and authorities to the public surrounding climate change, in the hope of a more sustainable society.

My role is within the Essex Climate Action Commission communications team, where we communicate the work of the Commission and its recommendations on how best to bring Essex to carbon neutrality by 2050. Within the communications team, we write content for newsletters, co-ordinate public engagement projects and promote the work of the Commission through various channels.

What would you like us all to know about?

I would love to tell you about the work of the Essex Climate Action Commission and to share information so that everyone knows the small steps we can all take to help tackle climate change. The Commission itself was announced in November 2019, and first met in May 2020 to advise on what Essex can do to tackle climate change. It focuses on a range of subjects including waste, transport, and land use.

To support the Commission ECC has carried out some very insightful research in partnership with Britain Thinks and Essex County Council’s consultation portal, to better understand the views of Essex residents. Since March, nearly 2000 Essex residents have been interviewed through telephone surveys, video interviews and focus groups. The research asked residents about their lifestyles, their attitudes towards climate change and awareness of council initiatives to help tackle it.

So what attracted you to apply for a Kickstart Placement at ECC?

Whilst at university, I had a desire to begin my working career within some form of local government or public sector. I felt like it was just a more impactful way to put my studies into practice, as I knew it would involve working with local communities and residents, as opposed to within one private enterprise. However, when I left university, the pandemic was in full swing, so prospects of picking anything up were looking low and my motivation dwindled. But when this particular kickstart placement was raised to me, I immediately applied! My aim is to move into a role within local or national government based around policy and strategy making further down the line, and I’m confident that this placement will be a great way to start off my career.

How do you feel about what you are doing?

My role, and the projects that I’m involved in, really excite me. It’s a fantastic feeling to be working on topics that I’ve not only spent the past four years studying, but which I know will make a positive impact making society more sustainable. To be putting that into practice within the local council is very rewarding.

How have you found training that is included as part of the Kickstart scheme?

It’s been really helpful so far – and abundant! I don’t think they leave any stone unturned here, and if you do miss something, you can always check in and ask and they’ll be back with a response before you know it. It’s a brilliantly well-organised programme, and I’ve felt very well supported since starting one month ago.

What advice would you give someone considering ECC as a future employer?

If your ambitions and motivations are to have a positive impactful change, or just to put your best skills into practise within a well-supported and comfortable workplace, then go for it! It’s an extensive team, full of support and recommendations, with teams interacting and working together to create great results and outcomes for each task, job and project. Everyone is working together here – you won’t feel alone.

If you would like to find out more about our latest vacancies on the Kickstart Scheme please click here.