Meet our graduates: Colin Wheatley

We caught up with Colin Wheatley, one of our current graduate trainees, to see how he’s finding the Changeworks Graduate Scheme 2022 so far. Below, Colin shares his discoveries about the challenging nature of Scotland’s decarbonisation journey.

We also hear about the great work he’s been doing with our Home Energy Scotland service to meet these challenges.

What were your reasons for applying to the graduate scheme? What attracted you to Changeworks?

I was initially looking at the industry as a whole and matching up my qualifications. This role was the perfect fit for what I was looking for. It provided fantastic support for the start of my career. The final draw was that Changeworks values and goals reflect my own.

What roles have you undertaken in your time so far? Tell us about them and the sort of work you’ve been doing as part of the team.

So far I’ve been working with Home Energy Scotland as an energy advisor. The role has been public facing, helping customers find answers to the different queries they have about the energy sector. This includes fuel support, energy efficiency installations, renewable technologies, and sustainable transport. As a result, the work has been wide-ranging. It has provided me with a fantastic idea of the scope of the industry and the support that this team can offer.

Right now is an exciting but challenging time in the home energy efficiency space. What have you learnt during the graduate scheme so far on the challenges Scotland faces to meet its net zero targets?

Having spoken to customers, I feel there is considerable hesitancy to move from well-known (and higher polluting) systems towards greener and renewable technologies. You see this with Air Source Heat Pumps. Currently the Scottish (and the UK) Government is pushing to install heat pumps in as many homes as possible, so there is plenty of grant and loan funding available. However, the uptake of heat pumps is lower than it should be.

This is in no small part due to the lack of public knowledge about these systems. Installers – who are familiar with older systems (gas/oil boilers) – are not getting access to training for these newer systems. They therefore underemphasise the system’s potential or overemphasise its negatives to customers who would otherwise consider them as an option.

With that in mind, I feel the largest challenge that Scotland faces is bringing people along on the country’s decarbonisation journey.

What other teams and roles are you looking forward to taking on during your time at Changeworks?

Currently I’m really looking forward to working with the Consultancy team. I would very much like to work on different projects on a more macro scale. I’m very interested in seeing the different projects that are ongoing and would love to contribute my skillset and knowledge to this team.

Has working at Changeworks given you food for thought when it comes to your future career choices?

In five years’ time I would very much like to be in a position at Changeworks. I’d like to work on a few different projects during my time here. I’m someone who enjoys working creatively to solve problems, so the opportunity to do this will be at the forefront of the decisions about my future career.

Would you recommend applying to the Changeworks Graduate Scheme next year?

Yes! The Changeworks Graduate Scheme 2022 has been a fantastic experience so far. The support I have received has been fantastic.