Who are you?
André Timm studied Mechanical Engineering in Germany whilst undertaking an internship within the aircraft industry. After studying for a Masters in Industrial Engineering, he returned to work at Airbus in 2017. André recognised the links between his engineering background and the sustainability sector and wanted to apply his technical skills to working in a different sector. Looking to move to Spain from Germany, André jumped at the opportunity to participate in the Pioneers into Practice programme and undertook his placement in Valencia.
What did you do?
André’s placement was with La Pinada, an environmental community involving residents in the design of their neighbourhood. Prior to taking up his placement with La Pinada, André was able to discuss with his host organisation the different projects that he could apply his specific skills to. His chosen placement project was to work on activities to develop a local energy community, working with local stakeholders to share energy from a solar PV development.
André used specific tools from the Pioneers workshops, including backcasting, empathy mapping and stakeholder analysation techniques to develop a questionnaire for local neighbours involved in the energy scheme. He then delivered workshops and activities with those stakeholders.
Following André’s initial placement, he explored opportunities with La Pinada on other projects and was offered a three-month paid contract to work on a new water filtration system. André is looking to stay working in this sector and envisages himself working on sustainability issues in Spain.
André has created a professional network and has kept in contact with other Pioneers. He was very impressed with the Pioneers programme, which he described as having an amazing international and vibrant atmosphere.
The move from big industry to a small start-up community, which deals with environmental issues was a new life experience for me. I was able to use the approaches and tools we used in the Pioneers group project work on creating communities to help me develop the stakeholder workshops.
What did you learn?
André explained that when someone wants to change their work sector, the Pioneers experience can be a great opportunity. He learnt about the latest project management skills, sustainable environmental projects and about different approaches to use, from a traditional product-focussed outlook to a lean start-up approach.
André felt that it was a great chance to get out of his comfort zone and dedicate his time to another sector where he could really add value.
What happens next?
André wanted to start a new life in Spain and change his working sector. He felt the Pioneers programme was tailor-made to help him achieve this.
André is planning to continue to work on sustainability activities and hopes to remain with La Pinada to assist with the launch of a new community energy project looking at the re-use of car batteries.