It now seems inevitable 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. To find out more about how future careers – including some unexpected ones – will become greener, we spoke with expert Traci Lewis at Catalyse Change who runs Catalyst Bootcamps and workshops for schools, but more on that later. Here’s what she told us …
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.
So, what are green careers?
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.’ And 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.
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.
Step 1 – Identify the problem you actually want to solve
What sustainability issues to do you feel most passionately about? Climate change? Renewable energy? Recycling? Food production? Low-carbon transport?
Take a 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.
Step 2 – Do what you are good at
Identify the problems you already know 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.
Not normally necessary to have one specific qualification to obtain a place on degree courses in sustainable development. Instead, the grades you get are more important. However, a mix of science, maths, English and geography are good core subjects to study at GCSE and A Level.
Step 3 – 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.
Consider what you could do to achieve your goal. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each option? What factors or considerations will you use to weigh the options? What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve this goal? What obstacles stand in your way?
Brainstorm as many good options as possible, then review these and decide the best ones.
Step 4 – 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 – e.g. LinkedIn and Twitter. Connect with professionals both off and online, who work at a range of management levels in the industries of your choice.
Step 5 – 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. It can also be a great way to develop new contacts in your field and can often lead to paid roles too.
Visit and explore the many different green festivals, events and conferences in the field as a way to meet new contacts, find out about developments in your chosen field and to stay connected with the green movement.
Stay informed with current news and updates about the green economy and your areas of interest.
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.
Want to find out more?
To help you make the most of this exciting new Low-Carbon revolution, Traci has produced a fantastic new e-book containing further details about her five key steps to developing your own Green Career. Details here – https://www.careersnearhere.com/inspiration/entry/12698/
And Catalyse Change are also running a one-day ‘Green Careers Catalyst Workshop’ for 13-24 year old young women in Bristol on 3 February. It will 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. Details here – https://www.careersnearhere.com/inspiration/entry/12625/
And finally …
As Traci says: “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.”
Thank you to the inspirational Traci Lewis at Catalyse Change @CatalyseCh (Twitter); catalysechange (Facebook) catalysechange (Instagram).
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