The number of green jobs in the UK will need to grow quickly to support our transition to net zero. In the low-carbon and renewable energy sector, for example, research suggests around 800,000 workers will be required by 2030 and 1.38 million by 2050. In England, the figure will rise to 1.18 million jobs, from just 185,000 today. This underlines the urgent need to start planning for these jobs now and to get all hands-on-deck to enable a fair transition away from fossil fuels and towards a clean, green economy.

But how can you aspire to a career in sustainability if you’re not aware of the myriad of different routes available to you?

When I was younger, I assumed you had to have a Science or Geography-related background to work in sustainability. My younger self would be delighted to know I’m putting my creative skills to good use, in a purpose-led organisation helping to create a One Planet Living future for people and the planet.

That’s why I was delighted that Bioregional was invited to participate in the Mayor of London’s Climate Kick-Start programme, a partnership between the Greater London Authority, Bloomberg L.P and Let’s Go Zero 2030. Coinciding with Green Careers Week and the first week of COP27, the city-wide schools programme aimed to inspire young people to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

Climate Kick-Start

Our first event was at the Royal Institution, close to our Westminster HQ. Over 300 Key Stage 3 students attended to listen to science and sustainability-themed talks and demonstrations, before exploring the exhibitor stalls to learn about what we do. My colleague Nina Wallace and I introduced the students to our work, spoke to them about their future career goals, and answered their questions about what it’s like to work within sustainability.

The South London Schools Partnership invited us to Kingston College for our second and final event. I presented to the students about the climate emergency and how Bioregional’s work aims to tackle it, talking to them about our work at BedZED and our One Planet Living® sustainability framework, which provoked a lot of interesting questions. I also spoke to the students about their perceptions of green jobs and what they need to get there, before sharing my own unconventional journey into sustainability, as well as the different roles and organisation types out there.

My journey into sustainability

My first two internships were with a spirits start-up and an art and film festival. I had no intention of working within sustainability until I participated in an art competition organised by Birmingham Friends of the Earth, which sought to raise awareness about climate refugees. For my submission, I did a lot of research into how the climate crisis negatively impacted the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, and it opened my eyes to the urgency and scale of the climate crisis and its potential to disrupt all our livelihoods.

After that, I felt spurred on to work with an organisation making a positive environmental impact. Before Bioregional, I was a Marketing Assistant for a micromobility start-up, and it was fascinating to learn about sustainability through the lens of transport. My communication and marketing skills helped me to secure my role at Bioregional, despite gaining these skills in completely different sectors. And I was able to demonstrate my passion for sustainability through my experience at the micromobility start-up, as well as the actions I was taking in my personal life. No science degree required!

How can I enter the world of sustainability?

If you’ve often thought ‘I’d love to work in sustainability but I'm [insert other non-technical roles here]’, I want you to know that you don’t have to sacrifice the things you love. Even sustainable organisations need an accessible website, good branding and marketing materials, and everything else that makes a business thrive. Whatever your skills are, they can be transferred.

Seek out organisations that align with your passions and interests. Fanatic about web development, art, or graphic design? Find a web development company or graphic design studio that works with sustainable organisations – and yes, they do exist because we've worked with many over the years. The B Corp website is a good place to start – there’s a variety of different organisations, from fashion and period care to climate tech and sustainability consultancies, that have proven high social and environmental performance.

What I love about working for Bioregional is that I still get to be creative, whether it’s designing social media graphics or community engagement posters or writing blogs and emails. And the world of sustainability is ever-changing, so there is always something new to learn.

It was so inspiring talking to the next generation of changemakers about their aspirations for the future and what actions they’re already taking now. We hope we demonstrated that there is a role for everyone in sustainability, no matter what their skills and interests are.

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