April 7, 2022, by Leah Sharpe
Exploring Careers in Sustainability
By Sarah Ainger, Senior Careers Adviser
An increase in public awareness of environmental challenges has led to organisations investing in sustainable working practices. As a consequence, job opportunities in this area have also been growing. But how can you start to build a career in sustainability?
Here we look at four ways to explore careers relating to sustainability and how you can prepare yourself for a future in the world of sustainability whatever your degree.
Researching your interest areas and the opportunities for careers linked to sustainability is an important starting point. For example, do you want to work in a role that has sustainability at its core such as a sustainability adviser for a large manufacturing company, or do you want to work in an organisation that purely works towards sustainability like a sustainable fashion chain or environmental charity?
It might also be useful to think about sustainability in terms of the four pillars. Economic, social, environmental, and human. Whilst in some roles you could be working across all of these, some of you might be interested in one specifically.
Sustainability Action Week at the University of Nottingham showcased organisations, groups, and individuals all working towards a more sustainable way of living. During the week two careers in sustainability panels highlighted the careers which exist. Watch the recordings to help kick-start your research. There are many dedicated websites that have a wealth of information such as Sustainability Exchange and our Careers Environment webpage.
Gaining experience in the area you’re interested in will not only help you to decide on your next steps but it will also look good on your CV. Internships, placements, and projects are all ways that you can see what is out there. Are there any charities operating in the area where you live? Are there any projects happening that might link to sustainability? Search for opportunities on Green Jobs, Charity Jobs, and Doit.org or on our jobs board via MyCareer. And remember, experience doesn’t just mean an internship or placement. It could be writing a sustainability-related blog, volunteering on a community project, or joining a society like the UoN Sustainability Society.
If your degree isn’t related to sustainability you could start by learning on your own to enhance your knowledge and at the same time show your interest in sustainability on your CV. Here are some suggestions on how to update your knowledge:
– Research the skills that employers are looking for by reading through relevant job adverts
– The IEMA Sustainability Skills map has a Graduate section
– There are short courses online on sites such as Future Learn
– Understand how sustainability features in different industries. For example, we hear terms such as ‘sustainable finance’, ‘sustainable fashion’ but what do they really mean, and what roles exist in those areas
– Having knowledge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will help you to start thinking about where your degree or interest fits in and where you will find career opportunities
LinkedIn is a good way to research organisations that have sustainability high on their agenda or organisations whose sole aim is to promote sustainability. Sign up for newsletters from relevant websites to stay up to date with current thinking starting with the UoN Go newsletter.
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