Ricardo x Zero Gravity: Sustainable Futures

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By Trish Sturgess – 16th May 2024

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All of us at Zero Gravity are massively proud to partner with Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental and engineering consultancy at the intersection of transport, energy and global climate agendas. They provide career mentoring, job roles and work experience opportunities for our members interested in pursuing a career in sustainability.

We reached out to the exceedingly lovely Trish Sturgess at Ricardo to ask her to write about the Zero Gravity x Ricardo partnership. She breaks down her career at Ricardo, what Ricardo actually does, and how their mission intersects with Zero Gravity.

Hey Trish! Thanks for sitting down with us. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do at Ricardo?

I’m Trish. I’ve worked at Ricardo for three and a half years at our Oxfordshire site (Harwell Campus). I’m a bid manager supporting our technical teams to win client work and deliver high-quality proposals. I’m also a programme manager in our core social value team, which is about making a positive contribution to the societies and communities where Ricardo operates or local to our offices and staff. Outside of work, I’ve always been involved in all sorts of volunteering, from conservation work in the UK to education projects abroad to supporting charities with writing funding proposals.

Sounds incredible. Can you break down what Ricardo does and some of your recent projects?

Ricardo is a global strategic environmental and engineering consultancy. Our clients include governments around the world and global organisations in key market sectors including transportation; energy, utilities and waste; industrial and manufacturing; financial services; and public sector. We act as a trusted advisor to our clients with some of the world’s most complex challenges in relation to tackling climate change; sustainable and safe mobility; and energy transition.

Ricardo delivers over 2,500 projects at any one time. Examples of our recent projects include helping electric vehicle brand Polestar review the life cycle assessment of its Polestar 3 vehicle; providing engineering and safety support for the construction of California’s High-Speed Railway, accelerating hydrogen development for sustainable island states, improving the health of UK rivers and wildlife, and measuring air quality and pollution levels in cities across Europe and Asia. And we have many more projects in fields such as water, air quality and environment, sustainability, digital modelling, sustainable transport, and energy decarbonisation.

Love that. Ricardo are a true front-runners to forging a better, more sustainable future - something we're massively behind at Zero Gravity (especially after our recent B-Corp status acquisition!). Although our missions align in more ways than that - mind breaking down how else Ricardo’s mission align with Zero Gravity’s?

Ricardo’s mission is to enable our customers to solve complex challenges to achieve a safe and sustainable world. As part of contributing to a sustainable world (which includes social and economic sustainability as well as environmental sustainability), we take our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion seriously. And we need bright minds and diverse perspectives to achieve our mission.

Zero Gravity is supporting talented students from low opportunity backgrounds to break through barriers and unlock their potential, which will contribute to creating a more equitable society.

So, I believe our missions are harmonious.

Couldn't agree more. So why does Ricardo want to work with Zero Gravity?

I was incredibly impressed by the passion that came through in the initial calls with Adam from Zero Gravity when we were exploring a partnership. It was an excellent reflection of the values of the organisation. We then did our homework and looked at the website and some case studies from mentees and were confident that this was an organisation that was dedicated to improving social mobility in the UK and making a difference to young people’s lives at critical junctures.

Now that we are in partnership, I’m equally impressed by the easy-to-use mentoring platform and guidance for mentors, including structured session plans. This makes it easy for our employees to get involved and hit the ground running.

We’re also delighted that Zero Gravity is being recognised externally with awards such as CogX and Impact Fifty.

Aw cheers, Trish! We feel the same. Tell us why is Ricardo interested in hiring talent from low-opportunity areas?

Ricardo wants to attract and retain the very best talent, by being purpose-led and enabling meaningful and fulfilling work. We know that if we are to be successful supporting our clients solve their complex challenges we need collaborative, diverse teams with different experience, expertise and backgrounds and ways of looking at the world. It is harnessing the power of difference and diversity of thinking that will get us to the best solutions.

That makes sense - the more diverse the hiring pool, the more diverse the teams, solutions and thought process. Is that why Ricardo offers career mentoring to Zero Gravity students?

It’s a competitive job market out there and we know that socio-economic background can affect a student’s access to role models, professional networks and contacts, confidence in even applying for jobs, and how much support they receive in developing employability skills. By supporting Zero Gravity mentees, we hope to strengthen their skills, whether job applications, CVs or how they present themselves at interviews and encourage them to fulfil their potential as they set off on their careers.

Personally, I really enjoyed working with my mentee, discussing career options and how to develop an effective CV. At first, I was nervous as I had never mentored before but soon realised that I have learnt a lot over the years, from my mistakes and failures as well as successes. I hope my mentee found the sessions useful and is starting to build the awareness and skills that will prepare them for entering the world of work. Having said that, I would reassure all students that it’s ok not to have a full career plan figured out while still at uni. After all, learning is a lifelong process, and few people will have only one job or career throughout their working life.

I'm sure your mentee is thrilled to have you as their mentor - who wouldn't be? Can't wait to continue our work together.

Looking forward to even more collaboration between Zero Gravity and Ricardo over the next year.

Thanks Trish!

Make sure you check out our interview with Alison from Ricardo to find out about more about the Ricardo x Zero Gravity partnership.

Reading this as one of our uni members and feeling interested in bagging an incredible career mentor like Trish? Or securing a job which guarantees a cleaner planet and a better world? Head to the Opportunities page on our platform to check out which roles Ricardo is offering at the moment. You don't wanna miss this one.

Reading this as a professional? Keen in linking up your company with Zero Gravity's talent pool, giving your business access to the brightest socially-mobile talent in the whole of the UK? Book in a free consultation with Ads, or check out our Employers page here.

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Trish Sturgess

Trish Sturgess has worked at our partner Ricardo for three and a half years at their Oxfordshire site (Harwell Campus). She is a bid manager supporting their technical teams to win client work and deliver high-quality proposals. She is also a programme manager in their core social value team, which is about making a positive contribution to the societies and communities where Ricardo operates or local to their offices and staff.

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