ERM is seeking graduates who are interested in pursuing post-graduate studies with reputable recognized universities. We are able to offer you an incredibly vast array of opportunities simply because our scope of work is so extensive. If you are pursuing studies in the earth or natural sciences, in some of the engineering fields, in economics or the social sciences, then there may be an opportunity for you to work with us! ERM Southern Africa continues to foster transformation. Our industry requires high calibre professionals from a multicultural background; we continually seek ways to nurture and develop talent.
All students with the appropriate undergraduate degree aiming to further their studies in the relevant disciplines may apply. As part of the selection criteria, students are required to choose one essay topic from the below listed options which consist of service lines (departments) within ERM:
Topic 1: Sustainability & Climate Change
- Context – Organisations are increasingly pressured to report on various dimensions of their business performance and how this impacts on the natural environment and societies. Sustainability reporting is one of the avenues but there are currently many other reporting frameworks to consider from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Task Force on Climate Disclosures (TCFD), the JSE Social Responsibility Index (SRI) for listed companies, UN Global Compact on Human Rights, etc. Considering this continuous reporting pressure, some companies acknowledge being stuck in a reporting paralysis and not being able to actually drive improvements.
- Task – What practices do you think could enable companies to link their external reporting to operational management to support continuous performance improvements? Please use one or two examples of companies that you think are currently doing this well.
Topic 2: Mergers & Acquisitions
- Context – The investor community is become a major force for change in terms of sustainability, with financial institutions increasingly recognising that investment in companies that have strong Environmental – Social – Governance (ESG) practices will yield better returns. The divestment from coal and other sectors that are intrinsically linked to the climate change challenge is another key trend that we are seeing. Africa faces a particular challenge in this transition as the continent’s overall population is projected to expand by 600 million before 2040, leading to continued urbanisation and requirements around infrastructure, as well as predicted 60% rise in energy demand. The Africa Energy Outlook 2019 report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that cumulative investments of $2.6-trillion are required between 2019 and 2040 to meet this rising energy demand and provide more accessible energy facilities to African citizens.
- Task – Please discuss how investors should be supporting this transition and some of the challenges they are likely to face in terms of ensuring strong ESG discipline and the alignment of future energy systems to the decarbonised/ renewable energy future that we require?
Safety and Risk
Topic 1: Safety & Risk Human Factors
- Context – In 2018, ERM undertook its first Global Safety Survey to explore how companies are addressing safety and risks in a world where stakeholders are increasingly scrutinising performance and the costs of poor safety performance are rising. The survey identified nine key findings highlighting that whilst internal and external scrutiny on safety and risk management continues to increase (as well as spending), the performance improvements being achieved by companies are not sufficient and continue to be hindered by challenges around culture and behaviour, whilst opportunities to use new technologies and data are still not materialising. See detail on https://www.erm.com/insights/erm-2018-global-safety-survey-report/
- Task – Considering the findings of the survey and some of the typical tools that exist in relation to safety and risk management (e.g. management systems such as ISO 31000, bowties, etc), discuss what you would prioritise as a client looking to deliver a step change in Safety & Risk performance. Please highlight some of the challenges you anticipate you would have to overcome and how you would navigate these. You may choose to specify which sector e.g. Mining/ Oil & Gas, you are considering and use some practical recent examples such as the concerns around tailings facilities and failure tied to recent major catastrophic incidents.
Capital Project Support
Topic 1: Role of Energy in Achieving Sustainable Energy Goals
- Context – Presently, our world economy is not running on a sustainable pathway which in turn indicates that many major changes will be required to make the whole system sustainable. In order to implement those required changes, in September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly launched the Sustainable Development Goals (referred as SDG) scheme. These SDGs are the blueprint for acquiring a sustainable future for the whole globe. The purpose of these sustainable goals is to address the sustainable development challenges we are facing presently, associated with peace, climate, poverty, inequality, environmental deprivation, wealth, and justice. Additionally, these SDGs are interrelated with each other so that we can accomplish each of SDGs effectively as well as their associated targets by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals, 2018).
- Task – Write an essay on the role of energy in in achieving SDGs in the African context (limit to 1000 words). The essay should identify and address the major energy issues and challenges our continent is facing, while achieving SDGs.
Topic 2: Management and Sustainability Analysis of Plastic Collective
- Context – Organisations are increasingly pressured to reduce the amount of plastic they are providing consumers with in order to reduce the amount of plastic pollution in the ocean. Is the current management and implementation of programmes executed by Woolworths South Africa sustainable?
- Task – Write an essay on the sustainability of Woolworths’ strategy to reduce plastic pollution to our oceans (limit to 1000 words). The essay should identify and address the major issues and challenges faced by Woolworths South Africa, and completed an analysis of the sustainability of their strategy and its implementation.
- You are investigating a site that is suspected to have contaminated groundwater as a result of a petrol spill, and you have taken groundwater samples from an existing monitoring well network. Describe how you would identify which chemicals you would request the laboratory to analyse your samples for, and present the list of chemicals and the reason they are required to be analysed.
- Risk based corrective action (RBCA) for sites contaminated with hazardous substances: What is RBCA? Is it a sustainable, pragmatic approach to contaminated site management, or just a defensive position which industries hold to not take action?”
Additional Application Documents
The following PDF documents will need to be attached by the applicant together with the CV in order to be considered for selection:
Certified copy of your ID
Latest results transcript
A completed essay write up with a maximum of 3, 000 words
NB: Not including any of the above documents will be an automatic disqualification from the application process.
Applications and essays will be reviewed by our relevant service line experts and candidates will be short listed based on their academic performance, essay writing skills, as well as the chosen area of study.
ERM has limited places available in both the bursary and internship programmes, therefore only a selected few will make it onto the programme.
Successful candidates will enter into a contract with ERM Southern Africa and the contract will be reviewed quarterly in line with the student’s academic performance. If successful, the applicant will be notified by ERM on their success of their application.
Please note that this bursary opportunity is open only to unemployed South African graduates who are looking to further their studies.
Closing date for applications: 22 January 2020