Imagine if you could create a career for yourself which you not only enjoyed but also helped to make the world a better place.
A Sustainable Economy is one that delivers social and economic value in a way that is low carbon and resource efficient, operates within environmental limits, is resilient to changing environmental conditions, and contributes to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. https://www.iema.net/policy/sustainability-skills-in-infrastructure.pdf
We are faced with very real pressing economic, environmental and social problems which require urgent action. With increasing global social and environmental problems, we need motivated, resilient and skilled changemakers more than ever.
On 13 November 2017 15,000 scientists wrote a ‘letter to humanity’ to warn us about the dangers of a host of environmental calamities including catastrophic climate change, deforestation, mass species extinction, ocean “dead zones”, and lack of access to fresh water. To save the world from extreme climate change we need to stop burning fossil fuels, preserve forests, limit population growth and improve food production.
This planetary crisis offers huge opportunities to a create a new Low-Carbon economy which requires a massive reskilling amongst our young people.
The 2017 UK Clean Growth Strategy sets out plans to end the use of coal power by 2025, ban the use of fossil fuel cars and vans by 2040, drastically increase the use of renewables, and explore new technologies for decarbonising the UK’s heating technologies and industrial sites. It proposes billions of pounds of new investment in clean technologies, greener business models, and low carbon infrastructure. It all but confirms that young people will see their careers play out in a world where many of the technologies and processes we regard as familiar will quite simply disappear.
So what is a Green Career?
Green careers involve working in jobs that are focused on social responsibility and/or environmental protection.They are jobs which are contributing to ‘happy, healthy and green communities and planet.’ These can be defined either by the nature and purpose of the job or by the nature and purpose of the employer.
“Green careers” includes jobs at every level of skill and experience, including manual labour jobs as well as the environmental science and engineering professions that form the traditional foundation for green/ environmental work. But the definition also includes a wide variety of other career fields, including those of management, support and administrative staff that can be found in virtually all industries.
‘Any skill set can be applied to driving forward the green economy if only people understand the importance of doing so and can be inspired to lend their shoulder to the wheel. We need to see apprentices in plumbing and building and mechanics who understand the importance of resource efficiency and appreciate the way these industries will change as a result of the low carbon transition. We need bankers and farmers and doctors who recognise how climate change will present new challenges and opportunities for their sectors. And we need politicians and journalists and, of course, teachers who can communicate how the world is changing to as wide an audience of possible.’ James Murray, editor, Business Green
The green economy is now in its infancy. The transition from business–as–usual to a new sustainable economy is opening up a wide range of opportunities that are likely to continue for years to come as new clean technologies, policies, and standards are adopted.
Making sense of this new low-carbon economy can be tricky, but if you’re committed to finding a career that will have a positive impact on the planet, here are some useful actions to help put you on the right path.
5 Steps to Achieving Your Dream Green Career
- Identify the Problem you actually want to Solve. What sustainability issues to do you feel most passionately about? E.g. climate change, renewable energy, recycling, food production, low-carbon transport, gender equality. Look at the UN Sustainable Development Goals for inspiration, this is the global sustainable development agenda to be achieved by 2030 which has identified 17 priority areas, with 169 different indicators around how this will be achieved.
- Do What you are Good At! Identify the problems you know already how to solve. As sustainability is so multi-disciplinary it can be embedded into almost any career, so make sure you choose something which not only you enjoy but which you are actually good at. To obtain a place on degree courses in sustainable development it is not normally necessary to have one specific qualification – the grades you obtain are more important – however a mix of science, maths, English and geography are good core subjects to study at GCSE and A Level.
- Set your Green Career Goals. Define your ultimate goal. Once you know what your overarching vision is then you can work backwards to figure out what you need to do to get there. Create an action plan to help you set and deliver your Green Career Goals.
- Connect with the Green Movement. It’s all about who you know. During our Catalyst Bootcamp the importance of networking couldn’t be stressed enough by all of our speakers. Social media now makes this much easier and more accessible. Through a range of social networking sites especially LinkedIn and Twitter, you can connect with professionals both off and online, working at range of management levels in the industries of your choice.
- Be Creative! Volunteering is one way to gain real experience in the sector of your choice and to build skills which are relevant to your goals. Ensure you are clear on what you can commit to from the outset and that you can stick to it. It can be a great way to develop new contacts in your field and can often lead to paid roles too. There are many other opportunities for connecting with the green movement and staying up to date through the many conferences and festivals, as well as the many sustainability online news sources and e-bulletins.
Want to find out more?
To help you make the most of this exciting new Low-Carbon revolution – we have produced an ebook with five key step you can take to develop your own Green Career. To get your free copy of this provide your email address via this link and it will be delivered to your inbox FREE GREEN CAREERS EBOOK.
If you are interested in what you read and want to learn more, we are running a one-day ‘Green Careers Catalyst Workshop‘ in Bristol on 3 February. To enable you to understand more about sustainability, the opportunities within it and how you can find your perfect career pathway, based on your own passions and skills.
A green career isn’t just going to appear, it requires focus and determination. But doing something you feel passionately about – while helping to make the world a better place too – is kind of worth the effort 🙂
For more info and to reserve your place visit www.catalysechange.com
Traci Lewis, director, Catalyse Change CIC @TraciLewis79 firstname.lastname@example.org