Gabriela Jimenez Rojas, Environment and Planning Consultant
||University of Auckland
||Bachelor of Urban Planning (Honours)
|Strongest Aurecon Attribute:
My experience with Aurecon
After completing my degree in urban planning at the University of Auckland, I applied for the Aurecon graduate programme. I expected to be based in Auckland but when they asked me to move to Wellington I was excited by the opportunity! Now that I’ve moved to Wellington, I love it here. It’s a great city and I’m glad Aurecon gave me the chance to experience a new city and different scenery.
My role as an environment and planning consultant is to provide resource management, environmental, and social impact advice for projects. My daily work involves liaising with designers and engineers to ensure that projects align with best practice, to consider all aspects and wider implications of a project, and make sure Aurecon is doing its utmost to do right not only by our clients, but to meet our social, ethical and environmental responsibilities.
I recently started working on a new business case for a public transport project in Auckland, where the objective is to shape more liveable communities with appealing transport links that brings neighbourhoods together. By analysing the proposed routes and reviewing the environment constraints in the areas, I will work together with the project designers to provide insight into what should be protected and what constraints might be encountered by the project.
Since starting at Aurecon, I’ve learnt a lot of new skills from experts who share their knowledge with the team. From practical skills, like researching and summarising reports, to technical skills such as analysing water quality, soils management, and the effect contaminated land can have on the environment and how this can impact an activity or proposed project. By interacting with everyone on different teams, I’ve learnt a little about everything so that I can create a narrative of the project to pitch to clients. That’s what makes planning a jack-of-all trades kind of job.
My passion for the work I do goes beyond the office, too. Aurecon offers flexible working hours that allows me to balance my work with other interests, and this has given me the opportunity to be a committee member of Women in Urbanism Aotearoa. This is an advocacy group which focuses on women and their experiences in our urban environments, ensuring that they’re inclusive places for everyone. My time spent here really fortifies my passion for environmental and urban planning.
Overall, my favourite thing about my job is knowing I’m having a direct impact on the world around me. A favourite quote from my boss is “the planner is the conscience of the project” which means I help guide clients, who might not consider the bigger picture, to consider environmental, urban and human elements. Plus, the advisory team here is Wellington is super cool and makes coming to work every day fun.
My best advice to graduates
- Learn how to be organised. It feels so much better to finish tasks and assignments with time left over. It also allows you to go back and fix or update your work if you give yourself that extra time.
- Engage with university life, clubs, peers and more! There are so many awesome things you’ll miss out on if you only focus on study.
- Cherish your friends, especially the ones who show up for you. They are really important and help you navigate the highs and lows of work and life.