Environment and conservation work
Each year large numbers of students are keen to enter this sector, but sometimes it can be difficult to find permanent jobs in some areas. As there is no single environmental profession, you need to be clear about what you mean by “environmental work” as it encompasses a wide range of jobs in industry, local and national government and voluntary organisations.
Work experience, often voluntary, can be very important both in developing contacts and in gaining experience. The University of Exeter paid internship schemes may have environmental job placements which could be valuable to career planning and progression. Also, the Green Consultants training programme can provide training and a placement for students interested in the environment and sustainability.
It is worthwhile taking a very broad view of this sector and areas such as recycling, waste management and alternative energy tend to be better financed than purely ecological areas and will therefore offer more job opportunities. A relevant postgraduate course may enhance your chances of entering this competitive field. The Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA), the leading body for anyone working in the environmental or sustainability profession, has produced a Skills Map for those interested in developing their skills and career development.
- Alumni profile for Nicola Clarke, Biology & Geography, now Programme Manager, DEFRA.
- Alumni profile for Tim van Berkel, MA in Biodiversity and now Scientific Director of The Heart of Borneo Project
- Environmental Career Videos by Job Type from icould.com
- Prospects - explore types of jobs - Environment Section
- Change Agents - a charity creating a network of change agents; people empowered to live and work in a way that makes a positive impact on the world around them.
- The Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) - supports the development of a sustainable food chain, a healthy natural environment, and protection of the global community from biological and chemical risks.
- Conservation Foundation - a means for people in public, private and not-for-profit sectors to collaborate on environmental causes.
- Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
- Environment Agency - public body for protecting and improving the environment in England and Wales
- Environmental Data Interactive Exchange (EDIE)– online sustainability resource which you can subscribe to for free email updates
- Forestry Commission
- LANTRA – awarding body for land-based industries
- Soil Association advises on organic food
- SustainAbility - think-tank and advisory firm with free email updates
- Ask An Alum - Exeter alumni who mentor undergraduates and recent graduates providing expert advice on careers in a particular sector.
- University of Exeter Career Mentor Scheme - feedback from students who have participated in career mentor schemes in this sector
- Wildscreen Festival
Places to find job vacancies and volunteering opportunities
- AgriFJ - agricultural and farming jobs with free job alerts
- Acre Resources - job site includes a few jobs for new graduates in landscape, ecology, environmental impact, CSR and waste management
- Allen & York - recruitment agency for environmental jobs
- Animal Jobs Direct
- National Parks England
- British Antarctic Survey - jobs and environmental research in the Antarctic
- British Trust for Ornithology
- The Conservation Volunteers (Formerly BTCV)
- Conservation Careers - global jobs and brilliant job seeking/application advice and blogs/podcasts
- Conservation Jobs
- Countryside Jobs Service - a large selection of jobs in the UK
- The Student Guild Streatham and the Students' Union Penryn – have a wide variety of societies and also voluntary opportunities for you to get involved with in your local community
- earthworks-jobs.com - web site covering many jobs within the earth science and environment related careers
- Ecology Jobs - specialist jobsite for ecology professionals
- English Heritage
- Environmentjob - variety of jobs in a range of sectors
- Environmentjobs - UK Green jobs and voluntary roles
- Evergreen - recruitment agency for environmental jobs
- Field Studies Council (FSC)- environmental education charity with vacancies advertised on the site
- Find your Purpose - environmental, sustainability and social impact jobs.
- Friends of the Earth campaigns for the protection of the environment and requires volunteers for national and regional offices
- Gradcracker - Renewable energy sector
- Greenpeace - environmental campaign organisation
- Green Jobs - recruitment in the environmental industry sector.
- Green and Renewable Energy jobs (Totaljobs)
- Groundwork- a regeneration charity which recruits volunteers
- Kew Gardens - offer internships and sandwich placements
- Local Government jobs
- National Trust
- Natural England - working to conserve and enhance the natural environment; volunteers required
- Nature Net - news, jobs and training
- New Scientist - jobs
- Public Sector Jobs
- RSPB - Royal Society for Protection of Birds - voluntary and paid positions
- Social Farms and Gardens
- Sustrans - offer nationwide volunteering opportunities and support organisations to develop wawlking and cycling policies
- Vinspired – volunteering opportunities for 16-25 year olds
- Volunteer Centres in your local area
- Waterways Recovery Group
- Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
- Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary near Looe, require volunteers
- Wildlife Trust
- Wiseoceans (marine conservation job alerts)
- Woodland Trust
- Zoos & Aquariums - the British and Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums (BIAZA) advertises jobs in zoos, aquariums and conservation work
- Zoological Society of London (ZSL)
Volunteering Opportunities Overseas
- Blue Ventures Conservation – UK based charity dedicated to enhancing coral reef conservation and research. Marine scientists and volunteers required.
- Coolearth - a charity supporting rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change
- Coral Cay Conservation - volunteers required to collect biodiversity data.
- Global Vision International - placements for volunteers with international environmental charities and NGOs
- Greenforce – marine conservation expeditions.
- International Citizen Service – conservation work overseas.
- Operation Wallacea
- Raleigh International – volunteers for environmental / social projects overseas.
- Sunseed Desert Technology – Spanish based volunteer sustainability programme.
- Trekforce – volunteering and expeditions overseas.
- United Nations Environment Programme – works with 170 countries on sustainability issues
- Voluntary Service Overseas – for experienced professionals but also have a youth volunteering scheme (18-25 year olds) for those with little professional experience (see ICS).
- World Wildlife Fund – limited opportunities to volunteer overseas if you are under 27 and can fund your own expenses (e.g Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands etc).
- World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) – worldwide volunteer work on organic farms in return for food and lodgings.
Other paper based resources:
- National newspapers carrying job adverts in this field include The Guardian
- Nature Journal - careers advice
- British Ecological Society
- The British Institute of Agricultural Consultants
- Chartered Institute of Waste Management
- Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management - careers advice and jobs
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health
- Institute of Conservation
- Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment - Information and opportunities on work in the environment
- Institution of Environmental Sciences
- Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) – independent centre for analysis and development of policies affecting the environment.
- Rothamsted Research Institute – largest agricultural research centre in the UK
- Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
- Royal Town Planning Institute
- Society for the Environment
Places to look for lists of employers or companies in this sector
- ENDS Environmental Data Services - includes news, directory of environmental consultants, jobs and environmental job agencies
- Environmental yellow pages
- Green Volunteers database - hundreds of green volunteering opportunities on projects all around the world
Post Graduate Study and Professional Development
As the environmental field is so broad, you may need to consider undertaking full or part-time postgraduate study in order to specialise e.g. Masters in Transport Planning, or a Masters in Food Security & Sustainable Agriculture. Although there are wide ranges of conversion courses open to all graduates, some require you to have a relevant degree. You can use the following links to search for courses: www.findamasters.com and www.prospects.ac.uk.
On Mycareerzone you will also find other resources in the resources section including The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding.