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Member Profile - Omega Young MEI Chartered Energy Manager
When did you first become interested in energy? I was 23 years old and thought I would try the aviation industry. I got a job as a flight attendant but quite early on, I could tell it was not the career for me and my interest turned to sustainability. I already had a degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Management but I had no Engineering experience. I started an MS in Energy Management, during the course I found out about the Energy Institute and knew I needed to work as hard as I could to gain the qualifications and experience I needed to become a Chartered Energy Manager. Finally, in 2015 with 7 years’ experience in Energy Management, an MS Energy Management and a MSC in Environmental Engineering, I became an MEI Chartered Energy Manager and ESOS Lead Assessor with the EI and I have not looked back since.
Tell us a little about your current job I have been at the University of Oxford for just under 6 years as the Deputy Energy Manager. I am responsible for energy procurement, energy and carbon saving, energy analysis, energy compliance and water saving, with a key focus on monitoring energy use and delivering bespoke energy saving measures across the University’s diverse estate. I manage the University’s utility management system, which currently holds all electricity, gas, water and waste data (cost and consumption) for over 200 buildings. I also work closely with all the University’s utility suppliers and process all utility invoices on a monthly basis. This financial year alone, I tackled over 10,000 invoices! Utility budgeting and forecasting has been a major focus over the last couple of years. I have been working closely with our Finance team and Departments as we all try to cope with rising energy prices.
I think the most enjoyable aspect is being able to provide my sustainability colleagues with the data and information needed to engage departments and building users as we journey towards the University’s ambitious carbon targets and implement a new Sustainability Strategy. However, after an enjoyable tenure at Oxford, I will be moving to Kings College London as the new Energy and Carbon Manager and I am excited to start that new challenge.
Omega started her role as Energy and Carbon Manager at Kings College London in October 2022.
What inspired you to pursue this career, and what path did you take to get there? The first 4 years of my career, I was based in Trinidad and Tobago as an Energy and Environmental consultant, a role that took me on an energy auditing extravaganza throughout the Caribbean’s hospitality industry. I then took a break to pursue my masters in Environmental Engineering at Newcastle University. The North had such an impact on me that I moved to Inverness, Scotland after completing my MSc. I had the privilege of travelling the beautiful Highlands for 2 years as I helped companies achieve ESOS compliance and they start their journey to become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprints. After Inverness, I moved south to the University of Oxford, which challenged and helped me grow for many years.
How has being a Chartered Energy Manager benefitted you in your career? As soon as I achieved my MEI Chartered Energy Manager and ESOS Lead Assessor status, I was invited to a lot more job interviews with established consultancies and businesses who clearly understood the significance of reaching this level within the Energy Management field. Being able to meet and have constructive conversations with so many potential employers helped me find my niche.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring Chartered Energy Manager? At the start of your career in Energy Management, start a list of the achievements you make along the way. On those days when you feel you aren’t making any progress (and they will come!), take a look at that list - it’s a great motivator to keep you going knowing you have been doing great things and can continue to do so. It also shows what has been important to you over the years and can really renew your love for the field.
Away from work, what do you like to do in your spare time? I enjoy walking, this year I started walking the Thames path it is stunning! I enjoy rugby, however after sustaining knee injuries in my heyday; these days I can only partake as a spectator. Many of my friends and family live in other countries so I always enjoy catching up with them. Also baking, Bundt cakes are the new obsession!
And finally… What does your Chartered Energy Manager accreditation truly mean to you? It means a lot to know that after reviewing my experience and knowledge, my EI peers decided I was worthy of the Chartered Energy Manager title. All of that hard work meant something and I really am quite proud to be accredited by the Energy Institute.