Eco-Thursdays: Environmental Careers

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about careers and the job-market in the UK. We did a post last month about young people and the future, with some ideas on what types of eco-careers young people are going into. As a follow-up, we wanted to write one with some tips for getting into the environmental sector!

Step 1: Decide what sort of environmental job you want!

So you know you care about the planet, and want to work in that area long-term. But what sector and type of job do you want to do? There are a huge range of sectors and jobs which can support the environment. Low-carbon work includes teaching, healthcare, and social care, as well as careers in biodiversity and conservation, policy, engineering, and scientific research. Within each of these sectors, there are a wide variety of roles, in administration, finance, project management, operations, delivery, research, fieldwork, analysis, logistics and so on…Have a think about the sorts of subjects and activities you enjoy to start narrowing this down

Step 2: Build Skills and Experience

A lot of entry-level jobs, for school leavers or graduates, do not require much specific experience. However some will, and it’s better to be at least a little bit prepared with evidence from your school, university, or home life. This could include volunteering experience in a food bank or community garden, managing a vegetable patch or writing for your school newspaper, working as a tutor or walking dogs – most job adverts will be more interested in your skills than extremely relevant experience. If you can show that your weekend job has developed your abilities (in organisation, teamwork, leadership, analysis, problem-solving, people-management and so on) then the employer will care more than a 1-day relevant shadowing experience than didn’t develop any skills at all.

Step 3: Find jobs you’d like to apply for

There are a number of platforms online that you can use to find jobs (paid and unpaid) in environmental areas (if you don’t have a specific organisation in mind):

It’s also really useful to sign up for job alerts on platforms like these, or more generic ones like LinkedIn or Guardian Jobs. This means that they’ll do the monitoring for you!

There are some great resources out there on this subject, depending on what field you want to go into and when you’d like to start.

  • Our Bright Future hosted a Q&A session with young people working in the environmental field in December 2020. The recording can be found on Youtube here.
  • Our Bright Future research paper
  • UNEP Green Jobs Initiative
  • Decent Jobs for Youth Green Jobs Information
  • World Economic Forum Environmental Skills Summary