Recently, we hosted an Environmental Careers Event, where QM students got to meet those working in jobs to do with the environment and sustainability. We had fantastic turnout of students and employers working various industries, including the Head of Sustainability & Environment at Heathrow, the Principal Ecologist at The Ecology Consultancy and the Principal Programme Manager at Global Action Plan.
The event ran like a ‘speed meet’, which meant that after a brief chance for the guest employers to introduce themselves, students grouped together at tables were given a prompt sheet to write down their questions or thoughts for the speakers.
Each guest then took a table and talked with the students about whatever they wanted to talk about. After 10 minutes time was rang and the guest moved on to the next table. That way each group of students got to speak directly with the guest and ask them the questions they wanted to ask. At the end of the event, there was a chance for students to speak again with the guests, get contact details or whatever they chose.
It’s so easy being green
The room bubbled with conversation throughout, demonstrating just how worthwhile the students were finding the event. Particularly useful was the range of guests – from their current roles to their educational and career backgrounds – this helped students to see that understanding environmental impact was important no matter what job they wanted to go into.
It also emphasised how important extra-curricular activities could be. Volunteering and doing things outside of their degree could really make a difference when it comes to selecting students for jobs, explained Gary Grant from Green Roof Consultancy. In particular, it can give students specific knowledge of ecosystems and so on, which might matter to future employers
Simon Helmer from Briar Associates (an eco-engineers company) told us:
‘I got into the ‘green’ sector from a different industry via the business to business skills I had and a massive enthusiasm for environmental sustainability. So enthusiasm definitely helps…As a fresh graduate, I found lack of business experience hindered me getting a job. Anything a student can do to get some experience in a sector they are interested in e.g. via a short placements can help them to stand out from the crowd for a potential employer.’
Jess Hawes, from QMUL’s own Sustainability team believed it ‘was a fantastic way to find out about the diverse range of opportunities in the Environmental Sector…Having all landed jobs in the field we recognise the importance of starting early, and getting a good idea of what you want to do and how you can achieve it’.
And if the idea of getting some skills and experience in this area appeals to you, why not think about being a Green Impact student volunteer? For more information on the roles you can get in touch with the QMUL Sustainability team via their website: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/about/sustainability/index.html.