Environmental management and conservation

Opportunities in environmental management and conservation fall broadly into two areas:

  • work relating to management and conservation
  • work relating to protection and control

There has also been an increase in opportunities linked to the sustainability agenda.

People working in this sector share a commitment to environmental issues and the ability to facilitate change, whether working with clients and stakeholders in government or industry, through to the public at large.

A number of areas in this sector are managed through local or regional government or non-governmental organisations such as Groundwork and the National Trust. Other employers include large multidisciplinary engineering consultancies (e.g. AECOM, Mott MacDonald, WSP and Atkins) and specialist environmental consultancies.

Getting in and getting experience

Jobs with large consultancies in their environmental practices do tend to be advertised as part of the graduate recruitment cycle, other jobs however are often advertised as they arise. As a job hunter you are advised to take the direct approach: targeting organisations that interest you, researching their current opportunities and, if all else fails, contacting them speculatively.

Many employers prefer candidates with relevant work experience, who can actively demonstrate their interest in working in the sector. This could be paid employment or experience gained as a volunteer. A relevant postgraduate qualification may also be required. Some large consultancies actively target Masters students when recruiting on campus.

Key transferable skills sought by employers include the potential to manage projects, strong communication skills around presentation, negotiation, persuasion, along with teamwork and drive. Commercial awareness is also important for roles in consultancy. Practical skills relevant to your area of interest can increase your employability (e.g. field survey skills for conservation roles).