To secure a job in the environmental sector, you need to demonstrate a real commitment to the work. Therefore it’s crucial that you try to proactively find relevant work experience, even on a voluntary basis. Explore the various areas within the environmental sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research, narrow down your search, and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
Types of opportunities
Volunteering is a very popular way to gain experience in this sector. You could find opportunities in carrying out practical conservation, research, recording and monitoring activities, or fundraising and campaigning. Competition for salaried employment is intense so many roles are carried out by volunteers and work can be seasonal.
Look for voluntary roles on:
- MyCareer Volunteering Bank
- University of Portsmouth Student's Union
- The Conservation Volunteers
- Countryside Jobs
- Wildlife Trusts
Participating in environmental and conservation projects overseas is also a popular way to gain experience in this field. It is however recommended to conduct thorough research into the projects, and understand any potential costs that may be involved, before committing yourself to participate. Below you will find details of organisations that offer voluntary opportunities relating to various projects worldwide:
- Outreach International
- Projects Abroad
- Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)
Internships and Placements
Another way to gain experience in this field is through a short term internship or work experience opportunity.
Search for internship opportunities using the below resources:
You might also consider completing a year long placement to gain some valuable experience in this field. If you are considering a placement year in industry, a good first point of contact is your Science and Health Placements Hub, who can support you in locating a suitable opportunity.
Learn more about how we can support you in securing experience and translating the skills you gain to future applications.
Tips for finding work experience
- Try to have something that makes you stand out in your applications: join and get involved in relevant university groups or projects. This is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
- Tailor your project work or final year dissertation towards an environmental theme that interests you.
- Research employers/organisations carefully.
- Keep up to date with developments in the environmental field.
- Speak to your tutor or other members of Faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on research projects over the summer.
- Start early! Get involved, volunteer during your first and second year to help boost your employability opportunities once you graduate.