How to get into green jobs: the takeaways

In November, the Careers Service hosted speakers from a variety of environmental career paths who are each tackling the biggest sustainability issues we currently face using their own unique skills and experiences.

Meet the panellists:

Ann Cousins, Associate, Resilience and Climate Change Advisory, ARUP

Ann is the lead in the resilience, energy and climate change advisory team at Arup which is a sustainability consultancy firm. The team is multidisciplinary including engineers, psychologists, and lawyers. Ann started as a receptionist with Arup after graduating with a French and Italian degree at the University of Bristol and worked her way up to their leading consultancy role.

Recently, Ann also assisted in setting up the Bristol One City environmental plan.

Pierce Griffith, Principal Economist (Chemical), the Environment Agency

Pierce is a principle economist at the Environment Agency and his work feeds into cost–benefit analysis for proposed environmental policies. Pierce studied Economics with French at the University of Bristol before joining the Civil Service Fast Stream.

The best part of Pierce’s role is the work culture; everyone is like-minded and sustainability-driven, being able to make change on a large scale and see tangible results. This gives him a great sense of satisfaction.

Charlotte Jackson, Freelance Sustainability Advisor

Charlotte is a freelance sustainability advisor who has worked closely with festival organisers Team Love to ensure environmental policy compliance and to conduct sustainability research at a range of festivals. Charlotte studied Event Management at BIMM University before completing a master’s degree in Sociology at the University of Bristol.

A recent project that they have been involved in included making a pavilion out of mushrooms for Glastonbury to challenge plastic use for staging and decorations at festivals.

Rosie Helson- Sustainability Professional, Sage (digital software)

Rosie is a Senior Sustainability Consultant at Sage which is a software company that helps small businesses with their payrolls and to calculate their carbon footprints. During her time completing a master’s degree in Geography at the University of Bristol, Rosie was part of the university’s Sustainability Team.

She hosted a sustainability-focused radio show and authored a sustainable blog. This enabled Rosie to expand her knowledge of sustainability and stand out from other candidates when applying for jobs.

Top Tips from the speakers:

Green jobs are multidisciplinary

A variety of professionals work towards sustainability through their jobs. From lawyers challenging the legality of planning permissions and ensuring consulting clients meet environmental legislation, to economists advising governmental policies; everyone has a part to play in our goal of a more sustainable future. Keep your mind open and consider a variety of roles before committing to the pursuit of one. Envision your daily life in the job before applying to help determine if you will get fulfilment in working in that role. Understanding exactly why you want that role will also help you to perform better in interviews. And remember, every role can be a stepping stone towards your dream career!

Be open to building experience towards a green role

Take entry positions at companies such as administrative jobs and seek work experience during your degree, or as a new graduate, to create a relationship with your target employers. By doing this you will gain essential skills to use to apply to your dream green job. It’s important to be realistic and expect to work your way up through a company’s ranks. It can also help your application to stand out if you champion sustainable practices in your current organisation or run a sustainability blog or social media account during your degree.

Grow your network

Go to any and every sustainability event that you can and talk to anyone there! You never know who may put you in contact with the right employer or you may completely change your goals on which role you want to fill by finding out what other people do day to day in their career. Don’t be afraid to make and maintain those contacts and give back once you’re able to.

Diversify your applications

Use multiple platforms to get your CV across to employers, not just LinkedIn. You may find more niche roles that can be hugely fulfilling. Don’t be afraid to put your face out there at networking events either. Many people fall into a wide array of sustainability roles through random encounters or by taking roles that they hadn’t considered before.

Start learning about sustainability now

Research how corporations, charities and protest groups influence small businesses’ sustainability practices and governmental policy. Build knowledge of the different organisations you may like to work within your career. Running a blog or writing articles for student journals on sustainability will not only help you to stand out in job applications but also give you a greater understanding of the industry.

Blog written by Lana Henry, a 4th year Veterinary Science student and Student Engagement Team Worker.