Low Carbon/Green jobs can be found in many sectors of industry and can be based in a wide variety of places. You could be based in an office, out on a construction site, in a laboratory, have to go into peoples’ homes or be outdoors studying the environment and our impact on it. In fact the list of work locations could be much longer!
The conversion to a green economy is a big challenge that could take many years. But in addition to protecting the future of our planet, it will also create many job opportunities.
Routes into this sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help get you into this sector. Also, although not compulsory, if you know you are interested in this sector you could choose to do a vocational GCSE, such as Applied Business (if offered by your school). Your school might also offer vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. related to this specific job sector.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeships/ traineeships, vocational qualifications,
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do higher education/university, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
Low Carbon/green jobs cut across many job sectors.
- In Construction, there are jobs in the area of ‘Retrofit’, making our current homes more energy efficient as well as building energy efficient homes for the future.
- New ways of generating energy such as through biomass, wind and solar are being explored and also linked with the farming and farm land sector.
- Research scientists are always looking at new ways to generate clean sustainable power.
- Engineering and manufacturing are critical when developing new ideas.
You will see then that, in this relatively new area, there are a number of career pathways to suit those who like to work with their hands to those who like research and design. Where do you fit?
To find out more about the qualifications needed in this sector visit:
- Energy and Utility Skills for Renewables and Recycling and waste management
- LANTRA for Environmental Conservation
Spotlight on.... degree courses in this sector
This is an exciting and fairly new job sector. There are new low-carbon and green related degree courses being developed, however, many engineering degree courses would also enable you to enter this sector. That's why you might also want to look at the Engineering and Manufacturing job sector.
Courses in low carbon/green sector might include:
- Environmental Resource Management The effective management of energy and resources is becoming critical for society. This type of course will prepare you to play a vital role in finding sustainable solutions to energy and resource management. You will explore issues such as climate change, resource depletion and sustainable opportunities for energy production using fossil fuels, nuclear and alternative energy. You will also learn how to develop effective strategies for energy and resource management. You could study at the University of the West of England or Petroc.
- Renewable energy and carbon management Courses in this area will enable you to study the rapid development of carbon management and renewable energy technologies. These courses recognise the importance of being able to quantify, plan for and manage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, whether in communities or private or public sector organisations. You could study this type of degree at Cornwall College or the University of Exeter.
- Biofuels engineering Many agriculture and land management degrees now have a biofuels component, but they are more likely to focus on how to grow and process different types of fuel. For the more complex field of second-generation biofuels, you might be better taking a degree in biotechnology. The University of Bristol runs a BSc Biochemistry with Microbiology and Biotechnology.
- Nuclear engineering You do not need a degree in nuclear physics to become a nuclear engineer. There are a number of relevant qualifications offered by universities in the field of nuclear science and engineering. Bridgwater College offer a Foundation Degree in Nuclear Engineering.
Websites for vacancies in this sector
Check out these websites to search for jobs:
- Renewable Careers offers job hunters a wider choice within the renewable energy sector.
- ENDS jobsearch is a website for people looking for environmental, conservation, ecology, sustainability jobs. The site has the widest range of environmental jobs available from: environment agency jobs to waste management jobs; graduate environmental jobs to recycling jobs.
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed a 4 week course on Elements of Renewable Energy. Click on the following link for more information