Beccy Wilson, Chair of IEMA Futures, reflects on how the Green Careers Hub can support those in the early stages of a green career.
Chair of IEMA Futures Beccy Wilson works as an Environmental Consultant. In this blog, she reflects on how having access to the Green Careers Hub would have helped her as she navigated the steps of her early career. Beccy also catches up with other IEMA Futures steering group members for their thoughts on how the resource may have impacted their working lives in the green sector when they were just starting out.
The IEMA Green Careers Hub is a space for users to access resources and careers information relating to their current and future skills, knowledge and experience. It will provide information on the vast range of roles across the environment and sustainability sector; in other words, careers considered to be ‘green’.
When I look at the Hub, I can see how I would have benefited from it during my education and career journey. Our sector is incredible in the variety of careers that sit under the umbrella term of environment and sustainability. I am fortunate to work across different sectors and can deliver a range of services in my role as an Environmental Consultant. I collaborate with people who contribute to the green sector in their own way, from Construction Contractors, Landscape Architects, Engineers and Lawyers to community group members, local council officers, marketing and design teams, and clients from many industries.
The vast range of green careers can be overwhelming. When I was looking at my career options, it was challenging to know in which direction to go. Did I want to go down the charity conservation route, a regulatory route working for organisations like NatureScot or SEPA, pursue environmental management system auditing, or other roles that I didn’t know existed at that time.
It was during that time, that a resource such as the Green Careers Hub would have been so useful. It provides a space to explore different types of career and learn about the skills and training needed, what steps you need to take to progress towards that career, and some examples on what the job entails.
As chair of IEMA Futures, I asked my fellow steering group members how the Green Careers Hub would have influenced their decisions. Hannah Lesbirel, Resource and Waste Management Consultant, enjoyed environmental sciences at school and decided on that path without thinking about the end job. She admits to not having had a clear idea of what options were available to her and believes that a resource such as the Green Careers Hub would have helped her to better plan her learning and career journey.
Similarly, Natasha Worrall, Project Development Manager, and Rhys James, Water Quality Programme Officer, enjoyed geography at school and decided to pursue it at university in the hope of having an environmental job in the future, but neither felt supported in this process. They both reported a lack of information on related jobs and barriers to accessing information.
Natasha wishes she had had access to a resource offering industry specific knowledge and advice when she was completing job applications. Rhys says, “A careers resource would have been very beneficial, as there are roles out there which I wasn’t aware of until attending university and starting my working career.”
Joe Nisbet, Environmental Consultant, expressed a wish for the green aspects of jobs to be more widely communicated outside of conventional pathways. He admits that the sector can be nebulous and joining IEMA gave him some clarity on the different careers available and how to pursue them. He says, “A Green Careers Hub would have been invaluable in understanding how my background and skills could apply to an environmental career.”
Sustainability Manager Simone Codrington believes she was fortunate to have enthusiastic teachers delivering environmental science studies at school, and they played a vital part in explaining the different pathways to her. However, she adds: “When it came to finding a job after university, it would have been helpful to see potential job choices that aren’t as obvious as Sustainability Manager and Environmental Consultant.”
IEMA Futures steering group has shared some words of encouragement for the next generation of environment and sustainability champions:
Simone: “Green careers are wide-ranging and diverse. There is something for everyone if you explore the options. We need people with all kinds of skills and expertise across different sectors to create a sustainable future.”
Natasha: “My tip would be to keep up to date with current environmental news to get a feel for the different areas of sustainability and environmental practice that you’d like to explore more.”
Joe: “It is important to remember that we need people from all backgrounds; diversity is required to meet our environmental climate targets.”
In addition to the above tips, everyone who is part of the IEMA Futures steering group has benefited from being a part of the IEMA Futures network. This is a place for students, graduates, and early career individuals to meet like-minded people who are passionate about environment and sustainability issues. The network provides a platform to connect, inform, engage, and drive members’ transition to becoming future leaders within the profession. It is a great place to start for learning opportunities and to connect with people.
This is a guest blog written by Beccy Wilson, Chair of IEMA Futures, for the Green Careers Hub.
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