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Earth resources

The earth resources sector encompassingextractive industries are of fundamental value to society, and the economy.This sector includes roles which extend beyond the extraction of oil and gas, such asengineering geologists working in industries ofconstruction and utilities. 

The earth resources sector has recently experienced market volatility due to wars and changes inconsumer behaviours as marked by a societal shift towards sustainability. In March 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reportednatural gas demand fell by fifty-five billion cubic metres, and yet converselyin March 2023 the IEA Oil Market Report reports world oil demand is set to increase over 2023. However, the sector remains buoyantwith extraction of materials for use in carbon reduction technologies: cobalt, lithium, aluminium required for batteries; silicon and tin for electronics. In 2020 the World Bank Group report “Minerals for Climate Change” assessed extraction of minerals, such as graphite, lithium and cobalt, could increase by nearly 500% by 2050 with increased production in India and Nigeria. It is useful to note an overlap with the sector of energy and natural resources, as illustrated by the British Geological Society which has mapped in Geoscience for the Future how occupational roles within Earth Sciences align with UN sustainability goals of 1, 2, 7, 8, 11, 12, and 13.  

There are awide range of roles in the earth resources sector. The following is not an exhaustive list but isindicative of the range of occupations and industries in earth resources: drilling engineer, mudlogger,metallurgist, geotechnical engineer, tailings planning, autonomous haul truck planner, management, dispatch engineer, OEM manufacturers, drill and blast engineer, health and safety, research and development, and academia. 

Many of our graduates have progressed to companies such as Balfour Beaty, Barminco, Debswana Diamond Company, Glencore, Southwest Water, and Northern Star Resources Limited; these employers are a sample of some of our graduate destinations. 

For sector statistics, please visit the Mining Industry Report and Energy, Oil and Utilities on My Career Zone Digital 

These employability schemes can help increase your work experience and networks in this area.

  • Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremelyuseful, so try and secure relevant vacation work or placements.   

  • Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.   

  • Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a six months period.  

  • Green Consultants: An award-winning programme comprising of training and work experience in the environment and sustainability sector which can equip progression into retail management as many retailers are increasingly conscious of sustainable practices. 

Information Resources  

Have a look at the following brief videos and podcasts for an insight into this sector. 

  • Careers in Mining produced by Minerals Council of Australia. 

  • Down to Earth podcast show produced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society. 

  • Eyes on Earth podcast show produced by United States Geographical Survey USGS. 

If you wish to do further research into this sector, the following webpages may be useful. 

  • Prospects – overview of jobs in the oil and gas industry 

  • AGU – Advancing Earth and Space Science – global community connecting professionals working in earth and space sciences, global advocacy body. 

  • – digital periodical presenting news in the mining industry. 

  • Mining Journal – digital periodical presenting news in the mining industry. 

  • Minerals UK Centre for sustainable mineral development – offshoot of British Geological Survey – information resource outlining: mineral resources, mineral planning, policy and legislation, the role of minerals in a low carbon economy, statistics and exploration. 

  • My Energy Future Energy Careerscareers resource produced by OPITO. 

  • Offshore Energies UK (OEUK) trade association, formerly known as Oil & Gas representing the offshore energies industry. 

  • OPITOOffshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation - aglobal, not-for-profit, skills body for the energy industry. 

For general information about finding graduate opportunities, please visit our Graduate Jobs page, and for a list of general job search engines please visit our general job sources page. You could also have a look at Handshake, our vacancy database with employers who are targeting University of Exeter students. 

  • Allen & York - recruitment agency for environmental jobs including geotechnical and energy related positions. 

  • Careermine – platform listing opportunities in the mining industry. 

  • Earth Worksjob site listing opportunities across the earth sciences sector. 

  • Geoscience Jobs – job site arm of The Geological Society. 

  • Gradcrackerplatform promotion graduate jobs, schemes and internships in STEM. 

  • Jobs for mining – platform listing opportunities in the mining industry. 

  • New Civil Engineering Careers – job platform aggregator promoting opportunities in engineering. 

  • Rigzone – platform listing job opportunities in hydrocarbon industries. 

  • Waterjobs- job board for jobs within the water industry. 

If you have studied a related degree, check if your course is accredited by one of the professional bodies. Being a member of a professional body is voluntary, however, it can be valuable for developing networks, continuing your professional development, and generally keeping up to date with what's happening in the sector.  

  • Energy Institute - chartered professional membership body for people who work across the world of energy. 

  • Engineering Council – regulatory body representing professional bodies representing: Engineering Technicians (EngTech), Incorporated Engineers (IEng), Chartered Engineers (CEng) and Information and Communications Technology Technicians (ICTTech). 

  • Environment Agency – public body department division of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 

  • Euro Minesrepresentation and advocacy federation representing the European metals and mining industry. 

  • The Geological Society – not-for-profit organisation promoting education in earth science. 

If you wish to pursue postgraduate study before entering your chosen sector, please visit our Postgraduate Study information page for more information about choosing further study. We have a select number of programmes specifically designed for this sector; the following are examples: MSc Geotechnical Engineering, MSc Minerals Processing, MSc Mining Engineering, MSc Mining Geology, MSc Sustainable Engineering, MSc Water Engineering 

It can often be useful to gain postgraduate qualifications in the relevant subject area if your undergraduate degree is in a different topic but, beware, there are many courses on the market, and they are not all equally successful in securing your "dream job". You can always complement your degree with professional qualifications to show your commitment towards the industry such as an IOM3,Engineering Council accredited course. See the above Professional Bodies section for more information on applicable bodies.