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Environment and energy

field and trees

Discover other sectors

This sector not for you? Don't worry, there are plenty of others to explore.

The environment sector is broad and comprises of a wide range of employers and career opportunities, both outdoors and office-based.

It can include:

  • conservation
  • environmental assessment
  • energy
  • sustainability
  • corporate social responsibility (CSR)
  • and a range of land-based and animal-related careers

What you need to know

Find out about environment careers

Key resources

Keep up with news and current issues by reading:


Work in the environment sector is likely to require a degree in Life Sciences, Environment or Ecology, possibly with a postgraduate qualification, though other subjects may be acceptable for some roles.

Useful skills include: 

  • Demonstrable interest in environment and sustainability
  • teamwork
  • communication skills
  • negotiation skills
  • commercial awareness

Look at the Green careers hub green skills and IEMA skills map for more suggestions.

Work experience

Getting work experience is important for this sector, to make you stand out as a graduate applicant, and may be gained by volunteering, summer internships or a placement year.

  • Some larger organisations offer vacation internships, but these are likely to be companies in the water, energy, construction, oil, manufacturing, chemical and defence sectors.
  • York Internships, part of Careers and Placements, works with local organisations to develop paid project based internships, which are advertised on Handshake. We receive relatively small numbers of scientific research or lab based projects, but business related projects within organisations can offer useful insights, and all projects will give you experience of project management and a range of other employability skills. 

Finding jobs

A wide range of employers recruit into this sector, including organisations in the private and public sectors, charities and NGOs.

Labour market information (LMI)

  • ENDS reports (some available free on registration, some for subscribers only)
  • IEMA (Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment) is the professional body for environment and sustainability; they offer student membership to access their resources.

See Prospects job profiles for the sector, for suggestions on employers and jobs sites. Use the following list as a starting point for your job search:

General environment/conservation/multiple functions:



Environmental consultancy/resource economics:

UK and European government departments and agencies:

Fisheries and marine:


Renewable energy:

Sustainability and CSR:


Jobs boards and LinkedIn can also be useful in your job search.

The recruitment process

Large graduate recruiters will typically have online application forms, while smaller companies may require a CV. Check closing dates for opportunities and plan accordingly. Allow as much time as possible to make your application. Some graduate vacancies may be advertised up to a year in advance, but other opportunities may be more immediate, with a period of weeks from advert to deadline. Always follow the application method stated in the job advert. See our pages on the recruitment process to help you, and find out more about CVs on the CV page.

What can I do at York?

Make the most of your time at York to build relevant skills and experience, and find out about this sector. You could:

  • Join a relevant student society eg EnviroSoc
  • Volunteer with a relevant organisation - choose one of our sustainability projects, or a local organisation such as St Nicks or Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
  • Get involved with Green Impact at the University of York or join one of the other activities in the Sustainability Opportunities Hub.
  • Find an internship to see whether this sector is for you. Check for opportunities with York Internships (advertised in Handshake)
  • Join one of the professional organisations (see the Find out... section above) as a student member to keep informed about the sector
  • Take any opportunity to network with professionals in the sector - Careers events on campus, York Profiles and Mentors and LinkedIn are just some of the ways you can speak to practitioners
  • Make use of the journals and reference books in the Careers information room (see the Find out... section above)

More resources: people to follow, podcasts, blogs

People to follow

Connect with York graduates on York Profiles & Mentors

Find the full list of graduate profiles on York Profiles & Mentors.

You can also find and connect with York alumni working in this sector on LinkedIn.

Social media accounts

British Council case studies

Read inspiring stories about UK alumni and green careers in different parts of the world, in the British Council's Green careers directory.

Podcasts, blogs and event recordings



  • The Net Zero Sessions - RenewableUK's series of videos covering industries and career roles in decarbonisation in the UK