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

James is the Chief Executive officer of Ormiston Trust. He has worked as an organisation advisor in the private, public and voluntary sectors, helping organisations to grow sustainably over the medium to long term. He has helped charities for over 20 years in the fields of strategic development, partnership setup, programme and project delivery.

Poppy is the Youth Engagement and Partnership Officer at Ormiston Trust, responsible for coordinating our team of Young Advisors and developing effective working relationships with external organisations. She is currently studying ‘Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development’ at Warwick University and previously worked as Board Advisor for a non-profit youth-focused organisation in Croydon. She has experience in activism work – attending COP26 with environmental education company Force of Nature and had been a member of the UK Youth Parliament for many years, speaking on environmental issues in the House of Commons for its ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign.

Genéa is the Communications and Events Coordinator at Ormiston Trust. She plays an integral role in overseeing the communications and media strategy – along with leading the content development for internal and external comms and PR across the Trust and the #WeWill programme. As well as supporting all event planning across campaigns, including the delivery of comms workshops with the Youth Advisory Council. 

She has worked predominantly in broadcasting PR, comms and editorial and now works as a narrative designer alongside her work since completing her MA in Narrative Environments at Central Saint Martins. 

Fiona is the Grants Assistant at Ormiston Trust and in her role she supports the Grants team. Previously, she worked in the City for 10 years, firstly as a dealer on the floor of the London Stock Exchange and then as an equity salestrader.  

Samia is a business and ICT Teacher with over 20 years of leadership experience in Education, working with leaders from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 5. Her experience has ranged from working as an Acting Head Teacher to a Deputy for an Education Trust. Some of the key highlights from her education career have included building schools and setting up education provisions, including a teaching school, and winning several National awards. Samia is passionate about ensuring the young people in her care have the best possible experience and has always led by example by sending her own children to the schools she has been a part of.

Ray leads the youth engagement, partnerships and fundraising work streams at Ormiston Trust, in particular having strategic oversight of how we as an organisation can embed the voices of our young people in everything we do, and how we can work with partner organisations to maximise shared outcomes and opportunities.

His background is in community project development and funding, having worked with charities, schools, and local authorities in East Anglia to develop a plethora of projects including primary-secondary school transition, award-winning youth amateur theatre, social prescribing in rural GP practices, and youth commissioning boards, for which he was recognised as a Prime Minister’s Point of Light.

Ray is a global health and medicine graduate, alongside his work at Ormiston, he is a hospital doctor and public health academic. He is also an #iWill Ambassador and national #iWill Partnership Board member.

Anne is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has worked for Ormiston Trust for over 30 years, overseeing the property portfolio and asset management. She combines her work at the Trust with voluntary community work and has raised thousands of pounds to enhance leisure and education opportunities for young people in disadvantaged communities. 

Karlene is Finance Manager at Ormiston Trust and has been handling the Financial Management of Ormiston Trust since 2014. Her background is in Financial Services with 20 years working in the industry and she has a passion for systems, processes and spreadsheets to enable good finance management. 

Aneela is the Head of Education at Ormiston Trust. Prior to joining Ormiston Trust, she was Head of Professional Development and School Improvement at Beaconhouse Group, overseeing the professional development of over 8000 teachers and implementing systems for school improvement across 200 international schools, in the Southeast region. Prior to this, she worked at Universities in the UAE, where she taught on the Bachelor of Education and Diploma programmes, and previous to this she was a Lead Advisor for Nord Anglia Education services, working with head teachers and principals to raise educational standards across schools in Abu Dhabi.

Melissa is a Programme Management Officer at Ormiston Trust. In her role she supports the #WeWill programme management, and works closely with the monitoring & evaluation, social action toolkit & skills, and youth engagement teams. She completed her undergraduate degree in International Development at the University of Sussex, and her postgraduate degree in Global Health and Development at UCL. Over the last eight years, she has dedicated much of her time to working with non-profit organisations in the UK, Nigeria, China, and Tanzania.