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What is a Green Job?

  • Published: Thursday, January 11, 2024

Jobs that contribute to the preservation and protection of the environment, aim to develop sustainable solutions, or commit to climate change mitigation and adaptation fall under the bracket of “green jobs.” Here, we decode the ins-and-outs of green jobs and how they’ve evolved in recent years. 

 

What constitutes a green job? 

Green jobs primarily exist within environmental and sustainability-driven sectors, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, biodiversity and restoration, or green technology and innovation. However, green jobs also exist within traditional industries and corporations which aren’t necessarily green, with many organisations appointing internal green teams to improve their sustainability credentials and reduce the carbon emissions generated from their operations. 

For example, sustainability consultants, advisors, project leads and specialists are all “green jobs” which may be active within seemingly “non-green” companies, with the goal of improving their credentials in the future. 

The number individuals occupying a green job continues to rise in the UK, with over 526,000 employed in green roles in 2020. As the climate mitigation sector develops and government policy aligns with net zero targets, the demand for green professionals will rise further, calling upon a new generation of environmental workers. 

This expansion provides great incentive to pursue a green career, but there are certain criteria to consider. 

 

What qualifications will I need?

This will depend on the type of green career you are interested in. 

Installers of green technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels, EV technology, insulation systems and LEDs will need to undergo training to learn the practical skills. A variety of green apprenticeships and skills bootcamps are available to help individuals enter the green sector.  

Another benefit of apprenticeships is that they are available to people of all ages and provide a hands-on, practical route of education into the sector. You can explore six different types of green apprenticeships across forestry, heating, electric, and sustainable business here.

Skills bootcamps are short, flexible programmes designed to help people build on existing experience or specialise in a certain area. They are often low or no cost, and many organisations offer to front the costs of these courses on the behalf of their employees. For example, you can access the Journey To Net Zero Programme through Green Economy. This is an accredited level 3 course and attendees will become fully certified by successfully completing a virtual assessment. 

There are plenty of green jobs that can be accessed without gaining specific green qualifications. For example, jobs such as sustainability consultant, environmental business advisor, and net zero advisor can be accessed with a relevant higher education qualification and through upskilling and specialisation within the workplace. 

 

What skills do green professionals need?

You may have heard recruiters and employers discuss “soft skills.” Soft skills are general traits an individual may have which aren’t specific to one type of job but are likely to help an individual progress and excel in the workplace. Examples of soft skills include communication, time management, decision making, and organisation. 

A lot of these typical soft skills are applicable to green roles, however there are some specific green skills which will help you to develop in your career as a green professional. 

Here are 5 green skills that will assist you in your career: 

  • Scientific understanding – while you don’t need to have a doctorate in science to be a green professional, you will likely need to understand the basic science behind climate change, green technologies, or climate abatement. 
  • Long-term thinking – sustainability is all about acting in such a way today that preserves the environment for future generations. Therefore, you will need to be forward thinking in your approach to a green job.
  • Communication – part of the challenge in instigating sustainable and climate-friendly changes is communicating them in such a way that climate sceptics and doubters will understand where you are coming from and see the benefits of sustainable practice. 
  • Monitoring – understanding how to apply the latest tools, data, and frameworks to report on natural system impacts and emissions will be a beneficial skill in a green role. 
  • Entrepreneurial and innovation skills – a lot of the technologies surrounding net zero are relatively new, therefore being entrepreneurial and innovation-minded will help you to grasp these technologies and understand their short-term and long-term applicability. 

 

Next Steps

If you’re looking for work in Greater Manchester, we can help. Click here to look for local vacancies in your area, and click here to learn more about what courses and qualifications might be right for you.