We live today in a wasteful society where there is an endless cycle of producing everything from jetplanes and cars to pens and pencils, then dumping them when their usefulness is seen as over. But in many cases that trash can be recycled and again serve a gainful purpose, though in another role.
Jets Technics is one of the forerunners in the Hong Kong recycling industry. The company makes mainly building materials from recycled old tyres, plastic and wood that is mostly collected from bus and aviation companies.
Cecilia Sun, senior account manager, Jets Technics believes the recycling industry in Hong Kong still has the potential for further expansion and development, and she hopes the company will continue to expand and become a clear leader in the industry. "The growing concern in waste products creates enormous long-term development opportunities for the recycling industry and those who look to tap into this field," says Ms Sun. "This potential for growth and development means that this is definitely a viable option for university graduates."
Her own career is a case in point. She graduated with a degree in urban planning but could not find a vacancy in a related field at that time. As a forward-thinking individual, she started looking for jobs related to the environment, became greatly interested when she looked at Jets Technics' website and so decided to make the switch from urban planning to the recycling industry.
"You reap what you sow and you get full satisfaction from completing each project"
The company started with just 30 people and a budget of HK$1.3 million but has now grown into a respected organisation with a large network of clients locally, on the mainland and overseas. Ms Sun began as an account executive, then after the company was restructured quickly rose to assistant account manager. But it was a promotion with a price. "I was fresh at the company and had to learn a lot of the product and technical knowledge in a short time," she recalls. This meant lots of hard work, much of it done independently, but she rose to the challenge and did so well that she was promoted to her current position with three staff under her leadership. "The company has in place an excellent career development system which offers us a clear career path. I've had such great opportunity to development myself and a career," she notes.
Today, Ms Sun is in charge of project management, ensuring that recycling projects are assigned to the right kind of staff. She matches the type of project and client to staff who possess the suitable characteristics and skills. "My role is to guide and lead my staff in every project," she says. "I couldn't have done all that without my colleagues from other departments such as Technical, Design and management." She also follows up on product feedback from clients and reports her findings to the general manager.
Ms Sun finds the challenge of taking on different clients, projects and situations very rewarding and is happy to grasp such opportunities since they contribute to the company's growth. "I have moved from working on housing projects to private development projects, which is a very challenging learning environment," she says.
The basic requirements for a newcomer to the industry are qualifications of at least Form Seven or above with good Chinese and English skills in particular to be able to communicate with overseas clients. The individual should be outgoing, presentable, able to work independently, mature, and detail-minded. "More importantly the candidate must be able to work under pressure as every project is important to the company's portfolio," says Ms Sun. "Having an understanding of the environment and recycling together with a general knowledge of building architecture is a good entry point into the profession."
The recruit must also have the desire to work and be willing to learn. Staff can go on various certified courses, particularly those in technical knowledge. The company offers good salaries with the best rewards in the commission and the number of deals closed on projects. "You reap what you sow and you get full satisfaction from completing each project," says Ms Sun.
In a typical day, Ms Sun goes through her daily schedule to see if there is a need to go out and visit clients. Preparation work consists of writing proposals for new projects and reviewing projects so she can update clients on progress. "If a new project is being proposed, we must consult the project masters for current and previous projects to ensure that all the latest techniques and developments are included," she says. The workload shared among her subordinates includes preparation of invoices, tender notices and handling.
Jets Technics has an independent team working in the mainland. The company felt a separate team was needed because of the differences in sales tactics, support and business infrastructure compared with Hong Kong. John So, director assistant of Jet Technics, says staff transferred from Hong Kong to the China branch can earn 10 to 20 percent more. He points out that the recycling industry in China is still in its infancy but there is potential for the future. "We are very optimistic about the China market and believe that the potential will unfold over time," says Mr So.