Environment and 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?
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:
- Emergency planning/management officer
- Energy manager
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental education officer
- Environmental manager
- Geographical information systems officer
- Geophysicist/field seismologist
- Hydrographic surveyor
- Land/geomatics surveyor
- Marine scientist
- Nature conservation officer
- Recycling officer
- Sustainability consultant
- Waste management officer
- Water quality scientist
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.
Competition for jobs in this sector is fierce and work experience could be the deciding factor to securing a graduate job. Undertaking work experience is invaluable in developing expertise and the all-important transferrable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work.
However finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CV’s every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Careers and Employability website.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations. Please be aware that some of the opportunities overseas may well have a cost involved so it is important that details are checked carefully.
It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience; the Careers and Employability Service offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Careers and Employability centre.
If you wish to instigate voluntary work experience during the vacation periods please refer the 'External sites' on the voluntary work experience section of our website.
Tips to build 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.
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.
The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:
- Public sector
- Voluntary and charity sector
- Intergovernmental bodies and international organisations such as Environment Agency and Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)
- Pressure groups such as Friends of the Earth, Green Alliance, Greenpeace International and Rainforest Action Network
- Private sector ranging from resource management such as water industry to environmental consultancies, eco-tourism and renewable energies companies
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.
- My Purple Door - 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
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
- 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.
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
- Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management - Features a section "Students and Careers" with useful career advice, employment sectors, career profiles and more.
- The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology - Provides detailed information about careers within the marine industry including marine science/biology.
- Countryside-jobs - Includes vacancies in biodiversity, nature conservation, countryside management (including all forms of land management), ecology and many more countryside sectors.
- Conservation Jobs - Features specialist conservation work with advanced job search facilities which enables searching for jobs by geographical region and job category.
- Conservation Careers - Opportunities for full-time and voluntary conservation jobs in the UK and the rest of the world.
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
- Chartred Institute of Water and Environment Management
- British Ecological Society
- Institute of Environmental Science
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