Careers Service Occupations

Environment

About

Environment jobs include roles in sustainability, recycling & waste management, as well as environmental management, conservation and climate change.

Careers advice (general)

Careers advice (environment protection and control)

Careers advice (environmental management and conservation)

Industry news

ENDS Europe provides an environmental news and information service.

The New Scientist and Guardian: Environment look at the latest developments in this field.

edie.net is an environment and sustainability news centre. 

Professional bodies 

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them and sector skills bodies on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies. 

Professional societies/institutes

Research councils/institutes

Government departments and agencies

Sector skills councils/industry groups

Lantra is the sector skills council for the environmental and land-based sector.

There is also the UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA)

See Law & Your Environment for general information on environment law, including links to specialist bodies.

Making contacts

Talking to people working in the sector can give you an insight into roles and be useful for networking and making speculative applications. 

You could start with:

  • Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
  • Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice and inspiration
  • ResearchGATE - professional online network for researchers across scientific disciplines

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, can also be useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. 

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. Regular events for this sector include British Ecological Society: Undergraduate ecological careers conference

For more events for this sector, see Careers Service eventsExternal Events or the professional bodies listed above.

Related sectors 

You may also be interested in AgricultureRenewables, Nuclear & UtilitiesCivil Engineering, Geomatics & Construction, Property & Surveying or Physical Science.

Roles & Skills

There are a range of careers found in the environment sector - from academic research and ecology to consultancy and policy work.

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.

Roles (environmental protection and control)

Environmental consultant

Environmental manager

Environmental policy officer

Environmental health practitioner

Environmental law solicitor

Roles (environmental management and conservation)

Countryside officer/ranger

Ecologist

Nature conservation officer

Energy manager

Environmental manager

Environmental consultant

Environmental engineer

Environmental education officer

Energy conservation officer

Field trials officer

Marine scientist

Soil scientist

Water quality scientist

Water conservation officer

Sustainability consultant

Recycling officer

Waste management officer

Forest/woodland manager

Skills employers look for

Employers in this sector look for roles including:

  • an ability to project-manage, prioritise tasks, meet deadlines and work with minimum supervision
  • leadership and the ability to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary teams
  • attention to detail and a logical and methodical approach to problem solving
  • an ability to research, analyse and communicate complex technical data to others
  • numerical and IT skills
  • commercial awareness and an understanding of local, national and global environmental issues

See IEEM: What a graduate should know (PDF) for a list of surveying skills you would need for a career in ecology or environmental management.

Gaining Experience

Finding a job in the environment sector is very competitive. Relevant work experience is invaluable, and often essential, in developing expertise and demonstrating your motivation and commitment to this area of work.

Some large employers advertise summer and/or 12-month placements, usually aimed at students in their penultimate year of study. These tend to be more in engineering or technical roles. Applications open early in the autumn and closing dates are usually between November and March.

Examples of companies that may be able to offer placements and/or summer internships include:

  • ARUP
  • BP - includes internships in environmental science
  • CH2M HILL
  • E.ON - year-long placements, including opportunities relating to carbon capture and pollution control
  • Regen SW - internships for students and graduates relating to sustainable energy, based in Devon
  • Balfour Beatty

For advertised opportunities, see Internships, placements & shadowing.

Professional bodies and research councils also advertise opportunities. See About for a list of organisations. 

However, the majority of work experience and/or voluntary opportunities in the environment sector are not advertised. You may need to contact an organisation directly, with a speculative approach. Do this early, as it can be very competitive. 

Paid internships in the environment sector can be difficult to find. For help with funding short-term low or unpaid work experience, see our Career Insights Bursary.

Finding companies 

Find companies that interest you and get in touch directly – ideally with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Finding experience in the North East

See Internships, placements & shadowing for additional sources of opportunities for students and recent graduates, including Vacancies Online.

Finding Jobs

Environmental roles can be found across a broad range of sectors - including industry, local and national government and voluntary organisations.

Typical employers for this sector

Higher education and research institutions, including research councils and research centres such as the British Antarctic Survey.

Intergovernmental and international organisations, including the United Nations (eg UNEP) and international think tanks.

Industry, for example the energy industry or in construction, property and housing. 

Environmental consultancies (multi­disciplinary or specialist consultancies), and national park authorities are also typical employers.

Voluntary organisations and charities, including wildlife conservation charities, environmental NGOs and pressure groups, eg National TrustRSPB,WWFFriends of the Earth.

Local and central government and non-departmental public bodies, including:

Specialist recruitment agencies

Finding companies

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch - always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

General

Environmental protection and control

Environmental management and conservation

North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) includes a member directory (PDF, see page 200 for index by sector). 

Water UK has a list of UK water and wastewater service suppliers, which is useful for speculative applications.