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Graduate Apprentice Christian Williams from Perth is spearheading his employer's drive to Net Zero and helping its clients achieve their sustainability ambitions - Perthshire Chamber of Commerce

Graduate Apprentice Christian Williams from Perth is spearheading his employer's drive to Net Zero and helping its clients achieve their sustainability ambitions

Christian, 22, helped devise a new approach to showcasing the sustainability services offered by business energy consultants MDG Group.

Innovative

Christian said: “We were thinking about practices we could implement to help our business and our customers reach Net Zero.

“I had an idea for a product which I developed with a colleague called the Triple A Plan. It is now offered to our customers as a methodology and road map as to how they can move towards Net Zero.”

Achievements such as this, particularly around sustainability, have seen Christian go from being a trainee Account Manager when he joined MDG Group in January 2019 to Business Development Manager.

He has done this while on his Business Management Graduate Apprenticeship with the Company, taken through University of Dundee.

Highly regarded

MDG Group Business Development Director Annette Welch said: “Despite being a very confident individual, as the only one of his school peer group not to go straight to university, Christian perhaps subconsciously suffered some self-doubt about his abilities, possibly connected to his dyslexia.

“It has been great to watch his confidence grow as he has achieved excellent grades while juggling a demanding job. Despite his relative youth he is an authoritative voice in any room and highly regarded by senior business leaders.

“Over the last two years Christian has been instrumental in developing our green offering into a defined roadmap and raising the company’s sustainability profile and services under the new Here's the Plan brand.

“These include our Triple A Plan, a personalised roadmap for any business wanting to achieve Net Zero, developed by Christian. It has been celebrated as an outstanding example of how to document sustainability planning and has been adopted by many high-profile businesses, including Foodmek and Montrose Port.”

Passionate about sustainability

Christian, who is a finalist in the Supporting Net Zero Apprentice category sponsored by Ocean Winds at this year's Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, has got involved in numerous sustainability initiatives in his own company and his wider network.

Christian said: “I was at a networking event and heard about Circular Tayside and I'm now an ambassador. I learned a lot through that and it opened my eyes to what we should be doing when it comes to sustainability.

“Sustainability is now the main aspect of my job. I was recently invited to be a panellist at the International Festival of Business in London to speak on 'green skills' issues.”

Being a Graduate Apprentice has many plus-points for Christian.

He explained: “I started working after school but realised I would probably need some further education to back up my skills and the Graduate Apprenticeship offered the perfect opportunity to work and study at the same time. Being able to balance a job and getting skills to develop in my role was ideal. Business Management is specifically what I'm interested in, so the apprenticeship was the perfect choice.

“I've developed a lot during my Graduate Apprenticeship, including promotion to Business Development Manager and gaining confidence in areas like public speaking. I've been lecturing on sustainability at Dundee and Abertay Universities, something I wouldn't have believed that I could do before.”

Christian added: “I'm delighted and really chuffed to be a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.”

Develop potential

Christian is one of several apprentices that have been good for business at MDG Group.

MDG Group Managing Director Douglas Reid said: “Apprenticeships undoubtedly help young people and the apprentices always bring something to the business.

“Our apprentices are very smart individuals. We had one who had a significant input into the set-up of our telecoms business from scratch. They do an absolutely incredible job.

“Apprentices have a very can-do attitude and bring a fresh perspective. We saw Christian's potential and were able to support him and help him develop that potential.”

Annette added: “Christian has become the go-to person in the team for information on each energy suppliers’ stance on green energy provision and is an important link for both colleagues and clients.

“He has also been instrumental in developing relationships with suppliers we can partner with to deliver green technologies. He has been particularly active in sourcing suppliers for electric vehicle chargers.”

Excellent student

Ross Croall the learning provider,at the University of Dundee, said: “Dundee is one of Scotland’s true “university towns”, and our Graduate Apprentices have access to world-class learning facilities and all the resources that they need to flourish.

“Christian is an excellent student and we’re delighted to have him on the programme. Christian’s development over his three years with us has been absolutely fantastic.

“The past year in particular has been truly exceptional for Christian. He attended COP26 in Glasgow and has driven forward successful new product lines at work, for example.

“For two years running he was Class Representative, acting as a key link between us and the students, something which was invaluable in building up our burgeoning programme.

“Christian has even been delivering lectures of his own at the University, and at Abertay as well, outlining the commercial aspects of sustainability, and how opportunities emerge out of the challenges there.

“Whenever I speak to Douglas, he’s always very interested in Christian’s development at the University. I think he’s got very high hopes for him, and rightly so - we do as well. Christian’s career will be one to watch.”

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