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Aleks Schmidt-Sweetingham

Offshore Wind Consenting Manager

Ocean Winds

What we're trying to do on a daily basis is put forward and develop projects that are commercially successful, bring green electricity to the grid, but in a way - importantly for me - that reduce the social and environmental impact as well...


Typically on a day-to-day my my objective is really to help secure the main consent and permissions for the project which allows us to to build the offshore wind farm, and also to operate it. On a daily basis, it's talking to our engineering teams and other project teams such as supply chain, project management, communications, to understand what they need to do to help develop the project and also what their requirements are for the consents that we're trying to obtain. This information is then shared with specialist consultants who are in charge of doing a lot of the really detailed environmental impact assessment work, which is key for our application for consent and then the other part is then communicating this like understanding interpreting it and then communicating this with external parties... be that key stakeholders, regulators and also the communities.

For me in my role, what I'm really proud of is is the tangible change and impact we're having. So as well as bringing forward these amazing infrastructure projects which will help us meet our climate objectives, it's actually the time spent working with concerned communities and also our stakeholders to understand what their pressure points are - and then coming up with solutions that help us to minimize the environmental risk and impact.

Technical and scientific information is fundamental to everything we do. It's the basis of how decisions are made for a project and also drives a lot of our thinking about what mitigation might be required on a project. What's really key for me in my role is taking that information interpreting it and communicating it to different parties in different ways. For example, some of the statutary nature conservation bodies are very well equipped and want to understand about the detail around you know impacts on birds, but you know members of the community aren't so interested in that - so it's about taking that information and presenting it in accessible ways for for different organizations we work with.

One thing that drew me to offshore wind, and that I really enjoy about it, is there's really no limit of opportunities around the world. We're seeing governments set really ambitious targets for renewable energy and offshore wind particularly. That means that there's so many opportunities for new people entering the industry to work on projects at different stages... be that the very early phases through to construction and operation, but also in different countries - be that Europe, Asia or America.

There's lots of different paths within that so if you're really into you know technical capabilities then there's opportunities to build your career around that but, also there's other like routes more focused on soft skills.

I'd encourage anyone who's looking up leaving school or finishing University to really you know listen out and look at the opportunities available to them.

In terms of advice, I think there's probably two things... the first is to be curious you know there's so much to learn and the sector is changing so fast as technology evolves. Secondly, do not be afraid to reach out... there are so many opportunities and the sector needs to bring the best people, the best expertise and also the most enthusiasm.

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