Environment and Conservation

Environment & Conservation

The Environmental sector is a very broad employment sector and it is likely to become even larger and more diverse in the future. With a greater number of opportunities within pollution control, waste management and recycling, as well as carbon management. Likewise, increased public awareness of environmental issues has led to considerable investment in sustainable development and renewable energy sources.

Sustainability and environmental work is no longer a niche market and is now more mainstream, with some large companies providing sustainability reports and audits in the same way they provide financial and audit reports. However, competition can be fierce, and vacancies rarely exist for inexperienced graduates.  

Where Do I Start

Getting Experience

Finding A Job

Need More Information

BackToCareer-Guides-Header

Where do I start?

Within the environmental sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.

Jobs roles in this sector include:

As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews. 

  • ENDS jobsearch – Provides useful career advice and industry news for getting a job in the environmental sector.  It also provides job profiles for you to research.  
  • British Ecological Society - Offers a wide range of resources and advice including a careers booklet ‘Rooting for a Career in Ecology’ or ‘Environmental Management’
  • The Environmentalist - Provides the latest news and insight to the environment sector as well as jobs board. 

 Back to the top

Getting experience

To secure a job in the environmental sector, you need to demonstrate a real commitment to the work. Therefore it’s crucial that you try to proactively find relevant work experience, even on a voluntary basis.

There are many different areas within the environment sector and the work can be varied. You could get involved in: environmental conservation and management; sustainability and development and renewable energy; waste management; water and flood risk; urban planning and regeneration.

Environmental work experience can encompass a wide range of sector, so within the environmental sector you could be looking at different areas. Some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search. Work experience introduces you to the world of work.  However if you haven’t got any idea about what career you want to do, it’s a way of exploring different jobs.

Explore the various areas within the environmental sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.

Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your work experience search

  • ENDS jobsearch - lists environmental vacancies across a range of sectors and locations. Features latest industry news, and provides advice and tips from employers on how to tailor your CV and covering letter.
  • Environmentjob - Job vacancies search Jobs and volunteering opportunities in the Environmental and Conservation sector. Searchable Directory of environmental organisations in UK, Europe and worldwide.
  • Earthworks-Jobs - Advertises worldwide jobs and employment opportunities in Energy, Geography and Environmental Sciences.
  • Green Jobs Online - A leading site for environmental and renewable energy jobs advertising graduate roles across all industry sectors. Searchable database by function, sector and location. 
  • MyCareer - Here you will be able to find volunteering and summer work experience across different sectors and locations.
  • Local Council opportunities maybe advertised in local council websites, check the websites for the area you are interested.  

To help you find work experience we have broadly broken down the sectors down to: 

Where to look for work experience in:

Conservation:

The breadth of countryside roles out there is huge. Below are some suggestions that can help you to find a work experience that suits your interests:

How to apply for a conservation job (advice from World Land Trust) 

 Marine Biology/Conservation

To get work experience in marine biology/conservation you could think:

  • Getting involved in local beach cleans and rockpool rambles along the coast is great fun and allows you to acquire useful skills and knowledge. The Student Union organises clean beach days for example. 
  • You can further your knowledge by joining the Marine Conservation Society, which will keep you up to date with interesting developments in the field of Marine Biology. You could also become a member of the Marine Biological Association.
  • Consider completing some work experience or an internship in an institute that specialises in Marine Biology, such as a laboratory or university. 
  • Volunteering is extremely useful for broadening your experience in this field. It not only shows you have a passion for Marine Biology, but helps you to make contacts too. Many zoos and aquariums offer volunteering opportunities, 
  • It could also be helpful to learn boat-handling skills by joining a sailing club. Snorkelling around the coasts of the UK is also a brilliant way to explore the ocean. 
  • Learn to dive! A popular first step to take is obtaining a PADI Open Water certificate. This is a great option if you would like to ‘test the water’ and decide whether diving is for you or not. You can even work your way up to achieve a PADI Dive  certificate, which paid biologists often use to carry out their work around the world. 

To look for work experience you could also look the following websites: 

You can organise your own work experience by contacting organisations that interest you. However be prepared to contact companies and organisations near you to enquiry about work experience opportunities and send them your updated CV and a tailored cover letter.

You could start your work experience search by researching some following organisations in your area:

  • energy, oil and gas exploration firms involved in marine energy
  • fisheries and aquaculture organisations
  • marine environmental surveying consultancies
  • renewable energy companies using sea-based and seabed turbines
  • marine and coastal management organisations
  • marine conservation and environmental consultancies
  • pollution and water control companies
  • statutory environmental protection agencies
  • environmental and conservation charities
  • marine research laboratories and agencies.

Other useful websites:

 Voluntary work

Voluntary work is a great way to obtain relevant experience so it is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience.

If you lack experience, or want to gain some specific skills be prepared to volunteer for roles. It will be a great way to network and develop important and useful contacts.  

It could be an opportunity for carrying out practical conservation, research, recording and monitoring activities and campaigning. Competition for salaried employment is intense so many roles are carried out by volunteers and work can be seasonal.

Below is a list of place where you could be looking for volunteering opportunities:

 It isn't always easy to find work experience and not all placements are advertised. Discover how to identify opportunities and approach employers with a speculative application.

The next section will help you find the “hidden” opportunities.

Speculative applications for work experience

Sometimes work opportunities or summer placement are not specifically advertised.  Many employers (often small charities) don’t have big budgets for advertising, their opportunities therefore don’t get promoted widely. However you can be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively. Environmental work is predominantly dominated by small and medium Enterprises/charities therefore your work opportunity search needs to be very proactive and a speculative approach is often required.

The Ends Directory provides a list of over 1000 top environmental consultants and suppliers and you can select them by area/specialism. This could be a good starting point to research companies and targeting them.

However remember employers receive many CV’s every week so you will have to ensure that your CV stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Careers and Employability website.

Pick up the phone and call companies to find out who you can address your covering letter and CV and then send them a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you. Remember that when you approach a company directly it is essential that you do your research: learn as much as you can about the organisations you want to target. 

Be smart in your researching: don’t just rely on information from the ‘About Us’ section on the organisation’s website - although that is a good place to start!  Seek out what kind of projects they are working on, whether they have been in the news recently, anything that you can showcase in your covering letter demonstrating that you are well informed, resourceful and keen.

Applications to a named individual within the organisation are often more successful, again another example of your resourcefulness rather than a general ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.  Use your research into the company to establish to whom it is best to address your covering letter. 

Tips to build your work experience:

  • Try to have something that makes you stand out in your applications:  join and get involved in relevant University groups or projects this is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Make the most of your lecturer’s connections and speak to your tutor or other members of Faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you to work on research projects over the summer.
  • Tailor your project work or final year dissertation towards an environmental theme that interest you
  • Research employers/organisations carefully.
  • Keep up to date with developments in the environmental field.
  • Start early! Get involved, volunteer during your first and second year to help you boost your employability opportunities once you graduate.   

 Applying for Work Experience

When sending your CV, application for work experience remember to research and prepare well:  know your stuff (Google like mad; the company, subject area, policy…)

Remember:

  • Keep up to date with environmental news and trends by following the professional bodies on twitter.  Consider following on twitter some key news channels and organisations in the sector you are applying to work in. Most employers will expect you to display some understanding of their business, its size, but also the sector in which it operates.( what factors affect or are likely to affect the sector) It is important that you learn about the sector in general and the organisation itself.
  • Most companies have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, register with them as this is often a place where new projects are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities. This information might help you to identify projects where they may be looking to recruit additional staff and therefore tap into the hidden job market.  The acquired information will also help with the application and interview processes.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile and network with sector employers and start following them - see our LinkedIN section for further guidance.

 If you are looking for work experience in the Hampshire area, below are some local companies who have employed some of our students in the past.

Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership  aims to reduce the risk of coastal flooding and erosion to people, the developed and natural environment by encouraging the provision of technically, environmentally and economically sustainable coastal defence and protection measures.

ECOSA  an ecological consultancy based in Hampshire and Gloucestershire, providing a full ecological survey and assessment service to support our clients' projects across the UK.

Tips to build work experience :

  • Explore the various areas within the environment and conservation sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
  • Get involved in relevant University or external groups this is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Speak to your tutor or other members of Faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on research projects over the summer.
  • Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.

Back to the top

Finding a job

There are many different areas within the environment sector and work can be varied. You could get involved in: environmental conservation and management; sustainability and development and renewable energy; waste management; water and flood risk; urban planning and regeneration, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.

Graduate schemes

There aren’t many graduate programmes in the environment sector and they are usually found within large energy, infrastructure firms and environmental consultancies such as AECOM, Shell  etc...Check on Gradcraker to find a list of graduate schemes that recruit in all STEM subjects.  Also check on graduates-jobs.com for graduate schemes in the environmental sector.

The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:

Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search

  • ENDS jobsearch - Features latest industry news, which could help you identify companies who are currently working on new projects and therefore may be looking to recruit additional staff. You could send a speculative enquiry about possible forthcoming opportunities. In addition this site provides advice and tips from employers on how to tailor your CV and Covering Letter. It also carries environmental vacancies across a range of sectors and locations.
  • Environmentjob - Searchable database for UK, Europe and worldwide based Jobs and volunteering opportunities in the Environmental and Conservation sector.
  • Earthworks-Jobs - Advertises worldwide jobs and employment opportunities in Energy, Geosciences, Oil, Mining, Geography, Environmental Sciences.
  • Green Jobs Online - A leading site for environmental and renewable energy jobs advertising graduate roles across all industry sectors. Searchable database by function, sector and location. 
  • MyCareer - Here you will be able to find graduate jobs across different sectors and locations.

 Tips for finding a job

  • Keep up to date with environmental news and trends by following the professional bodies on twitter, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
  • Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
  • If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within environment check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
  • Most companies have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities.

Follow on Twitter or Facebook to receive news, information about current projects for this specific industry sector and to tap into the hidden jobs market 

Postgraduate options

Further study is a popular option for environmental graduates. Taking a relevant MSc course may be helpful, if you're interested in getting into a particular field of environmental science. If you are unsure about your career plan or what are the next stages of your career planning, the Careers and Employability Service is here to support you as a students and as a graduate for 5 years after graduation. See below

 

Back to the top

Need more help and information?

How can the Careers and Employability Service help you?

The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and Covering Letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews
  • And more......

Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.

The Careers and Employability Service has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service. 

Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Google hangouts booked appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs. 

Further information:

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

Working in Environmental Conservation and Management

Follow on Twitter or Facebook to receive news, information about current projects for the Environmental Conservation and Management sector and to tap into the hidden jobs market 

Working in Sustainable Development & Renewable Energy

  • Renewable UK - Careers in renewable energies, the Career Mapping tool provides information on industry roles, job duties, and required/desired qualifications, training, experience, and soft skills required for each role. Check out the industry JobFinder for current vacancies and opportunities. 
  • CHANGE AGENTS - Advertises opportunities for graduates driven by the desire to work for ethical and responsible businesses.
  • WasteJobs - Focuses on jobs and careers in the waste and recycling sector both in the United Kingdom and globally.
  • WaterJobs - Graduate job postings across a variety of sectors including desalination, flood, hydrology and rainwater harvesting.
  • WindJobs  - Specialist job board that focuses on jobs and careers in the wind sector both in the United Kingdom and globally. Includes a variety of sectors e.g. environmental and renewable energy jobs.

Follow on Twitter or Facebook to receive news, information about current projects for the Renewable Energy sector and to tap into the hidden jobs market 

Back to the top