Sustainability – a 21st Century career choice

Windmills in a field

Written by Penney Gordon-Lanes, Careers Consultant at the Careers Service

Pursuing a career in sustainability is becoming a popular choice for many graduates and with the Environment Bill 2020 pending, organisations are reviewing how best to become efficient and environmentally responsible employers.

Job roles and career pathways are being created and changing rapidly, with professional networking site LinkedIn advertising over 2,500 job roles relating to sustainability, across the UK, in the past month. Careers in sustainability cuts across multiple sectors, with a range of employers including charities and not-for-profit, private and public sector, and global organisations such as the United Nations.

One of the biggest challenges that recent graduates face in securing job roles is having relevant experience. Many graduate level roles advertised are seeking some level of experience, therefore gaining relevant experience alongside your studies can be invaluable. Consider joining a Student Union society such as Manchester Energy and Environment Society (MEES) or volunteering at a local charity such as Fare Share. You can also search and apply for part-time or casual work experience, internships and placement year opportunities using Careers Link. Don’t forget, employers are also keen for you to demonstrate your soft and transferrable skills such as team work, communication, IT, etc.

So, what do you search for when looking for opportunities? Here are some broad terms to get you started…

Climate Change

Renewal Energy


Environmental Conservation

Environmental Policy

Recycling and Waste

Other considerations… some employers require candidates to hold Postgraduate level qualifications such as an MSc or PhD, so, ensure you thoroughly research what is required for your chosen pathway. You will also need to keep up to date with current changes in your chosen field, therefore, following or joining relevant groups, associations, institutes, and societies can prove a useful way to  stay up to date with news, trends and developments. Here are a few suggestions to get you started…

Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

Chartered Institution of Wastes Management

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management

Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee

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