From hairdresser to environmental technician

Sofie Buch faced the challenge of an industry change when she graduated in 2018 from the Environmental Technology Programme at Cphbusiness.

01 December 2020

Sofie was 34 when she graduated from the Environmental Technology Programme at Cphbusiness in the summer of 2018. As a former hairdresser, she was then faced with the challenge of settling into a new professional identity. She, therefore, focused on finding a job, where she could test her new skills.

From a degree to a job

I got my first job right after graduation, as I was hired by the company, where I did my internship. During my internship, I had highlighted some areas that were found to be quite relevant to spend resources on. I was then offered a temporary position, where I was able to use many of the skills I gained at Cphbusiness. Specifically, my tasks consisted of mapping waste streams and the handling of chemicals and a typical day usually consisted of office work and meetings, while the remainder was spent on practical tasks and outreach.

An opportunity at HOFOR A/S

In the autumn of 2019, I started in my current job as an environmental worker at HOFOR A/S. As an environmental worker, my tasks consist, among others, of optimizing waste and resource management, chemical management, including approval of new chemicals in the workspace, and the implementation a chemical workplace assessment. I also report to authorities, handle cases on environmental issues, process mapping, etc. Also, I’m the union representative for the technicians at HOFOR A/S.

A typical day consists primarily of office work and meetings, but also some practical work, such as outreach, for example regarding the substitution of chemicals. The substitution of chemicals requires that everyone using the chemical is involved in the entire process and want to take part in the responsibility. The process requires that the people I work with can reach me and I am someone people want to cooperate with. I’d therefore like in the future to focus more on the practical part of the process and interact with people, rather than spending time in the office.

Plans for the future

It may sound trivial, but it is important to me to like my job, have nice coworkers that support each other, and that management supports the workers and creates a safe environment. I’m a bit of a firecracker, so I prefer to have a lot going on at work. In the long run, I want to specialize in an area, but I’m not quite sure which at the moment.

Advice for students

My advice for students is to make use of the offers available to them. Go to conferences and seminars. Try to get over the insecurity of mingling at networking events, reach out to those with experience that you may benefit from. When you are a student and recent graduate, people understand that you are new in the game and that you just want to gain experience. Good contacts go a long way when it comes to finding a job, and you should never underestimate the effect of networking.

Advice for job seekers

My advice for those who are looking for a job is to use their studies, social media, union and events to stay updated. For example, offers such as those by Cphbusiness Alumni can give you really good tools to expand your network. Accept all the free offers out there – they are a great way to expand your network and get insight into what companies need help with. For example, in the summer of 2019 new rules for the handling of chemicals were initiated, which many companies were not geared to handle. It may be a good idea to stay updated in such areas, as this may be the way to a temporary or full-time position.

And remember, no company or organisation expects you to know everything from the start. Take your time and take in all the knowledge you can. Don’t set standards that are too high for you to reach. Just enjoy the process of expanding your knowledge.