A Guide for Breaking into the Environmental Sector

Careers Advice
30 May 2019 | Careers Advice | Guest Author

Environmental engineers are able to combine impeccable problem-solving skills with scientific knowledge to create technological solutions for protecting the environment. An engineer looking to move into the environmental field must first have a passion for serious issues such as climate change, urbanisation, population growth, deforestation and energy usage. So, if you’re considering a career change into the environmental sector, take a look at our guide for some useful tips:

Types of Environmental Engineering

There are many different types of environmental engineering, so you may wish to cover a specific area. Before you apply for jobs in the environmental sector, it’s important to establish which topics are of particular concern to you. This could be any of the following:

  • Environmental compliance ensuring minimal environmental impact from emissions or spills
  • Infrastructure and development
  • Flood risk and damage
  • Water supply and sanitation
  • Recovering land ruined from mining, landfill or farming

Although you may be passionate about a number of issues, honing in your interests into a certain field will allow you to offer more specialised services.

Attend Conferences and Workshops

When it comes to the environment, there are an abundance of speeches, workshops and conferences you can attend that cover a wide range of issues. Although you’re able to read a lot about what’s happening online, attending events and speaking first-hand to like-minded people is invaluable. Whether it’s a seminar on why you should switch energy suppliers to an eco-friendly alternative or an open debate about fracking in your area, it’s vital that you keep up-to-date with current affairs.

Attending such workshops will allow you to develop an even deeper understanding of the subject. You can ask questions, note down important information and most crucially – make some great contacts. You never know, it may expose you to people you could well be working alongside in your future job as an environmental engineer.

Sign Up to Environmental News Sites and Newspapers

Workshops and conferences aren’t the only sources of news in the industry. To keep on top of the latest developments in the environment, sign up to the mailing list of some environmental websites. The Environmentalist and BusinessGreen are two great sites offering specific insight into the sector. You may also be able to enter forum discussions and debates with industry professionals.

Stray Beyond Your Comfort Zone

As an engineer, your degree may not be directly linked to environmental issues, per se. However, this doesn’t mean that you aren’t equipped with a wealth of skills to bring to the sector. Employers are looking for relevant practical and technical skills, an interest in environmental or sustainability issues and business awareness or management skills. All of which you may possess even if you’ve never worked in the sector before. Transferrable skills are particularly beneficial when you’re looking to move into the environmental sector.

Show Leadership in Pushing Environmental Problems

Get yourself noticed by standing for what you believe in. There is not always a full understanding of the environmental issues we face in today’s society. It’s important to be able to explain such serious issues in a clear fashion to a non-informed audience. If you can demonstrate such leadership skills in the conferences and meetings you attend, this could impress future employers who’ll begin to hear of you through word-of-mouth.

Alice Porter works closely with Eversmart Energy, to share her knowledge on the environmental sector.

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