Cat Topping on advising clients in sustainability
Cat Topping shares highlights of her role as a graduate consultant in Advisory, Sustainability & Climate Change – from developing sustainability strategies to helping clients make better decisions on energy investments.
After only three months on Aurecon’s graduate programme, Cat has already been delivering impact to her team and clients in the fast-evolving sustainability sector.
Cat has increased subject matter expertise in her field, and learned to effectively communicate with clients, stakeholders and team members, which has been key to producing successful project outcomes.
1. What is your background and why did you join us?
Before I joined Aurecon as an intern in 2022, I worked for a state-owned energy generator as a student mechanical engineer. With a background in mechanical engineering and architecture, I saw Aurecon as a company where I could utilise my skills and help organisations improve their performance by responding to the risks and opportunities presented by sustainability and climate change.
After completing my internship at Aurecon, I was offered a fulltime graduate position. The company stood out to me because of its fast-paced environment with rapidly evolving work. My interest in decarbonisation also aligned with the company’s focus on innovation and sustainability, so I accepted the position and I’m so glad I did.
2. What skills or knowledge have you learnt since joining Aurecon?
I am responsible for conducting research on sustainability issues and trends, analysing data and information, and providing insights and recommendations to clients. I also help develop sustainability strategies and plans for clients, including setting targets and identifying actions to reduce carbon emissions and improve sustainability performance, and assisting clients with their technical due diligence on energy investments.
On top of this I help develop client relationships and support engagement with stakeholders on sustainability issues. I have learnt to effectively communicate with clients, team members and stakeholders which has been key to some of the successful project outcomes.
Keeping up to date with the latest developments in sustainability and decarbonisation and applying this knowledge to my work is something that excites me. I have only been on the graduate programme for 3 months but have already gained technical expertise in emerging energy sources like offshore wind, hydrogen, and biofuels, and extended my knowledge of industry standards, engineering principles and regulatory requirements. The projects that I’ve worked on continue to challenge me and I enjoy working in the very dynamic environment that Aurecon provides.
3. What is the culture like at Aurecon?
The culture at Aurecon is like no other! When I first started, I was welcomed into a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages growth and development. I have been provided with a range of learning opportunities including access to the Limelight network, which organises site visits, social events, and Lunch & Learns sessions for emerging professionals.
Cat Topping with Aurecon social netball team.
From grabbing a cup of hot chocolate with my team to start my day to monthly trivia competitions, Aurecon is offering a high-performing atmosphere that encourages positive employee relationships.
4. What is your biggest takeaway so far?
My biggest takeaway would be the importance of collaboration. As a consultant I have had the opportunity to work with a diverse range of colleagues, including engineers, subject matter experts, and project managers.
I have learnt a lot from collaborating with others which has allowed me to develop expertise in my field, propose more efficient processes and create more innovative solutions for my projects.
I hope to continue leveraging my expertise in mechanical engineering and architecture to design, develop, and implement innovative technologies that help clients reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and promote sustainable practices.