Environmental jobs and the environmental sector are growing. There is increasing interest in environmental jobs shown by professionals from other areas in search of a new start. More businesses are now seeing the advantages of following the environmental agenda and employing more people in environmental jobs.
Growth of Environmental Jobs
A report commissioned by the American Solar Energy Society in 2009 predicted that one in five US workers could be employed in the renewables and energy-efficiency industries by 2030. The UK’s green economy is also rapidly growing. In 2009 it represented more than 5% of GDP. And accounted for around 900,000 jobs nationally, according to a report by what is now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
This growth in environmental jobs means that there is huge scope for people of all career backgrounds to get involved. There are numerous transferable skills that apply to your current job that can also apply to new environmental jobs.
“Environment is one, ecology is another, and then you have solar, wind, smart metering … all these need specific skill sets. If you want to do something like, say, carbon management, you’re probably going to have to go back and do a whole new qualification, whereas if you’re happy to carry on in an existing role like marketing, you could probably get into a similar role within one of those organisations.”
Where To Start
Searching for a new job is always a daunting task. This can be especially true when entering a new industry. According to co founder of career change specialists Position Ignition, Simon North, small businesses in particular are seeing opportunities in the green economy. “Almost half of small business owners say they see green growth as an opportunity over the next five years.”
Assess Your Skills and Experience
Before entering your new role you must ask yourself a number of questions. This will give you a gauge into the environmental jobs that are right for you. Can you set up a system or a team? Are you able to get results with limited resources? Can you demonstrate how to make a practical difference quickly?
Every Organisation Needs Project Management Skills
All organisations need project management skills. Environmental jobs included. Some can also need programme management skills. These types of skills are transferable and can easily be transferred in to any sector. A good starting point to assess whether you have the right skills for the environmental jobs that you want is The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment’s skills map.
Get the Right Training
You may need to update your skills and/or qualifications to get the environmental jobs that you want. Looking for courses that meet your needs will help immensely. Not only in terms of content but also delivery: online, distance learning, classroom-based or blended learning. There are many providers of such courses. The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment has a list of approved training providers on its website.
Applying Your Expertise
Your expertise could be based around purchasing, procurement, planning, engineering, testing analysis, business development, sales and many more. This is a test of self analysis. You must look hard at yourself and what you have experienced throughout your career. From this you can identify the specific skills and expertise that can be transferred in to your new environmental jobs.
You must show how dedicated and determined you are to enter in to this sector. Learn about and get to know the sector. In doing this you can be confident talking about it. Reading environmentalist magazines will supply you with yet more knowledge about the sector. It will also keep you up to date with emerging technologies and current trends in environmental jobs. Get to know the industry authorities and find the segment that interests you most. Local research is always good. Identify specific companies in your area that you can approach for work.
Your local area is the best place to start. Look for local volunteer opportunities that involve environmental, conservation, consultation or research activities. This will be a major boost to your CV.
Expand Your Network
Look out for free “green” events near you. You can use these to network with other attendees. Keeping your LinkedIn profile up to date with relevant extracurricular activities is a big aid in your search. Employers will often look there for background information when they receive job applications.
Look in the Right Places
There are a lot of specialist jobs sites out there that can aid you in your environmental jobs search. Some specialist job sites include jobs.guardian.co.uk/environment, GreenJobs.co.uk, Acre-Resources.com and iema.net/jobs.
Part of the trick is picking a career route that is broadly appropriate to your skills background. As you progress in your new environmental jobs role you will gain the skills and experience necessary to enter into more specific areas.