Environment, Biodiversity and Wildlife Management Careers




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The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is NOW!

Chart of Environmental Careers

Click on any of the boxes in the chart above to take you to the relevant part of this page/other related pages or click here for a larger version of the chart.

See "Save the World!" our environmental case study/business game

Chalkhill Blue


Top ten specialisms demanded by Environmental Employers

  1. Waste management
  2. Energy Management
  3. Sustainable Development
  4. Environmental Management and Auditing
  5. Water and Waste Water Management

6. Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Management
7. Pollution Prevention and Control
8. Health and Safety Management
9. Contaminated Land & Remediation
10. Renewable Energy and Clean Energy

Source: ENDS Directory

PROFILE: Environmental Consultant

Works on client contracts on environmental audits, environmental impact assessments, water pollution, waste management and environmental policy. There is a growing movement towards the greener corporation and running business in a sustainable manner. There are a number of standards that corporations can aspire to, such as EMAS and ISO 14000 series. Companies often seek consultancy advice to help them assess their current environmental footprint then to help them acquire an appropriate standard. This is becoming increasingly important as it is forced along the supply chain - i.e. one company only purchasing from another which has acquired the necessary certification.
Tasks include: Preparing proposals and bids. Managing projects. Carrying out environmental impact assessments - evaluating the consequences of proposed developments (e. g. new roads) in relation to the environment. Carrying out environmental audits. Environmental planning.
Environmental law - landfill, waste disposal, pollution and similar issues.
Preparing environmental statements for planning, financial or insurance requirements. Design and planning e. g. of water treatment plants. Environmental strategy and marketing. Routine administration.
SKILLS: Spoken and Written Communication, Planning and organising, Analysing and investigating. Experience of Geographic Information System (ArcView or MapInfo GIS).
EMPLOYERS: Environmental consultancies e.g. E.ON and civil engineering firms.
SATISFACTIONS: Working in the environment and variety of work.
NEGATIVES: Initial salary. Job security. Much routine administration. Much overtime and pressures to meet deadlines. The need for the consultancy to make a profit may override environmental considerations.
TIPS: Very competitive to enter. A science degree or environmental degree is preferred, occasionally law, finance or business studies accepted. Masters degree in Environmental Impact Analysis and Assessment, Pollution Control or Environmental Law will greatly aid entry. Need to do relevant voluntary work, talk to anyone working in the environmental field and make speculative applications to consultancies. Can move from being a technical specialist to project management.
See the ENDS Directory for lists of consultancies www.endsdirectory.com/search
Read Sue Searle's excellent book "How to become an Ecological Consultant".


PROFILE: Nature Conservation Officer

Implements schemes for the creation and protection of habitats. Develops and implements biodiversity action plans and habitat management plans. Advises members of the public, developers and landowners. Supervises volunteers. Deals with enquiries form the public. Gives talks and prepares promotional materials on conservation. EMPLOYERS: Environmental bodies such as English Nature, charities such as Friends of the Earth, local authorities.
SATISFACTIONS: Helping the environment, working outdoors.
NEGATIVES: Can be unsocial hours. Very competitive to enter.
DEGREE: environmental or biological degree preferred. Any degree subject possible but would need to get a relevant Masters degree.
TIPS: Get lots of voluntary work experience with environmental organisations.


PROFILE: Ecologist

Ecologist. Works with other ecologists helping plan and undertake floral and faunal surveys. Assists with planning and preparation of ecological surveys. Undertakes floral and faunal surveys in support of a range of projects. Collates, writes up, and analyse ecological data for inclusion in environmental impact assessments and other ecology reports. Carries out background research in support of technical reports. Provides support to other team members on a range of tasks.
EMPLOYERS: Environmental consultancies such as AMEC www.amec.com/careers (a Kent graduate recently joined AMEC) and British Airports Authority. See the ENDS Directory of Environmental Consultants www.ends.co.uk  
SATISFACTIONS: lots of variety; having a positive impact on the environment.
NEGATIVES: Lots of competition for jobs.
SKILLS: Good understanding of relevant environmental legislation, knowledge of the role of ecology within the planning process and an understanding of ecological systems. Experience of undertaking bird, botanical or protected species surveys is valuable, though training would be provided. Good IT skills including word processing, databases and spreadsheets valuable. Experience of Geographic Information System (ArcView or MapInfo GIS) an advantage, . Good report writing, communication and verbal presentation skills. Full UK driving license normally required. You should be an intelligent, outgoing, reliable, self motivated and organised person. With the ability to work motivated on one's own and as an active team member and prepared to travel. Good interpersonal skills and keen to work within a consultancy.
DEGREE: relevant environmental degree required.
TIPS: Get voluntary experience with environmental organisations. See the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management website www.ieem.net organisation for environmental professionals
Read Sue Searle's excellent book "How to become an Ecological Consultant".


PROFILE: Environmental Health Officer

Investigates any environmental threats to the population of the local authority they work for. These might include air, water or noise pollution. Visits restaurants and shops to check hygiene standards and prosecute offenders when necessary.
INVOLVES: Inspecting shops & restaurants to check hygiene. Visiting industrial companies to check for pollution. Visiting houses to check complaints from neighbours about noise & other issues. Taking scientific samples & measurements. Prosecuting when necessary. Keeping up to date with legislation.
EMPLOYERS: Local Authorities. Some large food retailers
RELATED JOBS: police officer, customs officer, trading standards officer, factory inspector, health education officer.
SATISFACTIONS: Protecting the public & the environment. Varied work. Getting out & about a lot & meeting people.
NEGATIVES: Can involve confrontation & occasional abuse when needing to enforce the law. Visiting slaughterhouses & sometimes filthy premises.
SKILLS: investigating, negotiating, persuading, listening, analysing.
DEGREE: Science/Engineering/Law Degrees preferred.
VACANCY SOURCES: Environmental Health News, Municipal Journal, www.lgjobs.com , Guardian (Wednesday) Also the Municipal Yearbook for addresses of Local Authorities.
TIPS: You might initially start working as an environmental health assistant before being sponsored on a relevant training course. Contact  County and City Councils re jobs. Must get the MSc/Diploma in Environmental Health. Apply to accredited environmental health courses, then ask Local Authorities for sponsorship - this can be difficult to obtain, so you may need to consider self funding if unsuccessful. The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health website www.cieh.org includes a careers section

Nature Conservation Warden/Ranger.

Manages habitats in national or country parks, wildlife trusts or private estates. Involves practical conservation, ecological surveys, managing visitors, supervising volunteers and educational work. Seasonal Ranger posts can be a good starting point and are sometimes advertised in the Environment Post. Geographical information Systems skills, plus any farming skills, such as a chainsaw licence, and of course a driving licence will be of value for these types of jobs.

There are not many jobs in this area as very few people move on from this work once they have got a job in it! There is a growth in landscape scale conservation - working with landowners to improve habitats on their estates, alsdo Heritage Lottery funded proposals have genetreated a lot of new work.

What skills does a modern conservationist need? World Land Trust article

Scientific Officer/Field Survey Worker

Designs experiments and field studies and evaluates results. Monitors the distribution of plants and animals. Works in government funded agencies or wildlife protection organisations.


There are always jobs in this and it can be a good starting point for new entrants when other paid jobs are competitive and scarce. See our Charities page for more about this


  • Water Quality Officer. Works for water authorities on water sampling, surveys, water quality analysis, pollution control and water treatment. Water companies often have taken graduate trainees. See Prospects Water Quality Scientist profile www.prospects.ac.uk/water_quality_scientist.htm
  • Hydrologists/Hydrogeologists study water flows through channels and the associated water bearing rock formations. They usually work for water companies but also for public sector organisations and environmental consultants. See the UK Groundwater Forum www.groundwateruk.org for information on careers. There is a shortage of hydrogeologists and the field is open to graduates from earth science and environmental disciplines but also scientific, maths and civil engineering backgrounds.

Oceanography, Marine Sciences and Diving

Marine biology is a growth area at the moment due to legislation on marine protected areas.

Other Environmental JobsTree

  • Ecotourism. See our tourism page www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sitestourism.htm
  • Environmental Administrator. A number of environmental bodies such as the Environment Agency and the Department of the Environment employ administrators.
  • Environmental Reporting takes place in energy and water companies. Also organisations that have an impact on the natural environment, for example oil companies. In addition, many companies contract  this work to specialist Environmental consultants, who generally recruit people after a few years of experience. Postgraduate qualifications in environmental subjects are normally desirable.
  • Research. Many of the research jobs in industry are not strictly environment-related, but are in engineering, energy, public sector research laboratories and related areas where an environment degree may make a good starting point. You may get a job as a trainee research scientist with a good first degree but for those wanting a long term career in research it may be advisable to study for a doctorate. Soft skills such as report writing, ability to make presentations, project management and computer skills are becoming increasingly important.
  • Conservation Volunteer Organisations such as BTCV, Kent Wildlife Trust and the National Trust take conservation volunteers. Often this is a necessary first step if you wish to become a reserve warden. Volunteers are often given board and lodging plus a small amount of money and usually placements last for a few months.
  • Teaching. This may be the easiest way to do a job related to the environment. The Postgraduate Certificate of Education Course (PGCE) lasts one year. It's not that difficult to obtain a place on a science PGCE provided that you can show some evidence of interest in teaching such as voluntary work at a school. Remember though that you need to apply well in advance for courses. Some environmental graduates have become tutors at field centres and ward bound instructors. There is a shortage of science teachers, who are eligible for a bursary during training. 
  • Landscape Architect www.iwanttobealandscapearchitect.com For a list of postgraduate courses see www.iwanttobealandscapearchitect.com/becoming/courses/graduate.html There is a current shortage of Landscape Architects 50% of practices turned down work due to lack of staff in 2008
  • Horticulture www.growcareers.info
  • Agricultural/Medical/Veterinary Sales Representative Employed by pharmaceutical and chemical companies to promote medicines or fertilizers to doctors, veterinary surgeons or farmers respectively. You need to enjoy driving, as your car is your office. A useful route into areas such as marketing and sales management.
  • Information Scientist Monitors and stores scientific information from a range of publications and databases and uses this information to answer queries from scientists and engineers.
  • Other biodiversity graduates have gone on to become an animal welfare officer with the RSPCA and a zookeeper.


Change career by going green THE GUARDIAN
'Green-collar' jobs in the environmental sector are growing - and increasingly attracting professionals from other areas in search of a fresh start

Employers of biodiversity and environmental graduates picture of butterfly

  • Local government
  • Water companies
  • The Environment Agency
  • Department of the Environment
  • National Parks
  • Conservation Organisations
  • Environmental Consultants
  • Industrial Companies
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities


Jobs outside the environmental field

Environment graduates are attractive to many employers because of their personal transferable skills rather than the specific skills that they have gained during their degree course. These skills include the ability to analyse information in a logical way, numeracy and problem solving skills and computing skills. They range from health and social welfare occupations to commercial, professional and managerial jobs, such as marketing. Graduates have also entered administration, information work, sales, teaching and the media. 

See our I want to work in .... pages and Prospects Web www.prospects.ac.uk/links/Occupations for detailed job descriptions of most of the above jobs.

Recycling, Carbon management, Energy management, Waste management, Urban regeneration and Sustainability Careers


PROFILE: Recycling Officer/Waste Management Professional

Works on waste disposal, developing new techniques or disposing of waste and recycling, and monitoring the environmental effects of waste disposal. Promotes recycling in the community and the media. Monitors recycling banks and waste collection. Manages recycling collection. improves the organisation's carbon footprint. Introduces alternative travel options; car share schemes, bicycle riding training and loan schemes to buy bikes.
EMPLOYERS: local authorities, universities and waste disposal companies.
SATISFACTIONS: lots of variety; having a positive impact on the environment.
NEGATIVES: competition for jobs.
SKILLS: driving, persuasiveness, practical.
DEGREE: any degree subject possible, but an environmentally-related degree will help. There are a number of relevant Masters degrees including: MA Environmental Engineering - Nottingham University/Imperial College, MSc Waste Management - Cranfield University/Southampton University/Central Lancs University/University of Wales Institute/University of Glamorgan.
TIPS: Get voluntary experience with environmental organisations and talk to staff at your local recycling centre.

Waste Management Officer Profile www.prospects.ac.uk/p/types_of_job/waste_management_officer_job_description.jsp
Directory of Waste Management companies www.letsrecycle.com/directory/waste-management-companies.html
Chartered Institute of Waste Management www.ciwm.co.uk
Energy solutions www.greenenergypartners.co.uk/energy-management-solutions

Waste Management and Low Carbon Recruitment Agencies and Websites


  • The Energy Saving Trust www.energysavingtrust.org.uk provide impartial information and advice and have a network of advice centres in the UK. Info about their work


  • Sustainable Development Unit www.defra.gov.uk/sustainable/government part of Defra

    A person cuts down a tree

    and makes paper.

    And on that paper



  • English Partnerships www.homesandcommunities.co.uk national regeneration agency helping government to support sustainable growth. Graduate training scheme.
  • Regional Development Agencies www.englandsrdas.com information about their work in sustainability. Also vacancies.
  • The Civic Trust Regeneration Unit www.civictrust.org.uk promotes and delivers regeneration initiatives working in partnership with local government, business, industry and the voluntary sector.
  • www.newstartmag.co.uk aimed at professionals working in sustainable communities
  • www.askwhatif.co.uk is a community website for people interested in careers that have a positive impact on other people’s lives and the community they live in. Includes downloadable career profiles.
  • Community Development Foundation www.cdf.org.uk intelligence, guidance and delivery on community development in the UK.

Postgraduate Courses

  • Environmental Policy, Planning and Regulation - London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Environmental Technology, Imperial College London


  • GFA www.gfa.co.uk services include research, consultancy, training and partnership development. Specialists in regeneration policy development and implementation, neighbourhood renewal, evaluation and knowledge management.
  • PACEC www.pacec.co.uk specialist economic and regeneration consultancy practice. Carries out economic development and regeneration strategies, appraisal and feasibility studies and implementation.
  • Ecotec www.ecotec.com international provider of research, consulting and management services for development, delivery and evaluation of public policy including regeneration & economic development
  • Enterprise www.enterprise.plc.uk supplies services for major utility companies including recycling.
  • GHK www.ghkint.com consultancy and architecture services including international development
  • AECOM www.aecom.com group of engineering, design and program management companies including energy, environment and water
  • Rocket Science Lab www.rocketsciencelab.co.uk support organisations and communities to improve their own effectiveness and performance.



Destinations of University of Kent Biodiversity & Wildlife Conservation Graduates

Environmental Careers Chart

Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers Physics careers

These statistics only cover the first six months after graduation. A significant number of graduates are, at this stage, engaged in work which they would regard as temporary – using a short-term job to gain work experience that could act as a stepping-stone to a better position, or earning money to finance postgraduate study or time out travelling. The latest destinations for all subjects including postgraduates can be found at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/fdrbases/destinations.htm

  • MSc Conservation Biology: Kent (3) , MSc Biodiversity Management: Kent (7), MSc Conservation & Rural Dev't - Kent, MSc Conservation Science - Imperial, MSc Conservation & Biodiversity - Exeter, MA Environmental Consultancy: Plymouth (3), Bristol, MSc Oceanography - Southampton., Environmental Technology - Imperial (2), Risk management: Middlesex ,Ecology: University of Turku, Finland, Drylands Ecology: BenGurion University, Environment & Development: LSE, MSc Conservation: Christ Church, LLM Environmental Law & Policy: Kent, MPhil Biodiversity Management: Kent, MA Environmental Consulting, MSc Biological Imaging - Nottingham Univ., MSc Global Environmental Change - Kings, MSc Outdoor Education - Edinburgh
  • PhD Statistical Ecology: Kent
  • Teacher Training PGCE Secondary: Christ Church, PGCE Geography - Exeter U., PGCE Secondary Biology - Southampton U.
  • OTHER: Diploma in Zoo Mgt: Sparsholt College, Postgrad. Dip Conservation Biology: Kent, NVQ Land Management, Woodland Management Course
    Research Guide for Conservation Work
    - Atlantic Whale Foundation, Tour Guide - London Zoo, Senior Animal Technician - VenomTech, Volunteer Officer - The Conservation Volunteers, Recreation Ranger: Forestry Commission, Project Officer: Kent Countryside Project/ White Cliffs Countryside Project/ Groundwork Tameside. Graduate Ecologist - Chris Britton Consultancy, Conservation Ecologist: Middlemarch Environmental. Field Ecologist: Corylus Ecology, Lodge Keeper: game reserve, Environmental Consultant: BRE. Canterbury Greenspace Officer: Kentish Stour Project, Marketing Executive: Coral Cay Conservation. Warden: Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Orkney, Environmental Technician: Eurolink JV, Team Leader Fundraising: Friends of the Earth, Technical Assistant: Ground Solutions Group/Mouchel Parkman, Gardener: Howletts & Port Lympne Zoos (2), Environmental Education Officer - Howletts Wild Animal Park, Wildwood Trust, Charity Fundraiser - Aspinal Foundation , Conservation Officer - Camden Council, Shop assistant - Wildwood Trust
    Intern - Save the Rhino, Greener Living Ass't/Environmental Network internship - Univ. of Kent/Women's Environmental Network
    Trainee Project Officer:
    Kent County Council
    , Support Services Ass't: Kent County Council, Housing Support Officer: Canterbury City Council, Project Assistant: Canterbury City Council, Admin. Assistant: Surrey County Council, Bromley Council, Clerical Ass't: Havering Boro' Council
  • EDUCATION - Lecturer/PGCE - Askham Bryan College/Huddersfield U. , Lecturer: Canterbury College, Teacher, Science Teacher (GTP) - School, Trainee Tutor - Field Studies Council
  • ANIMAL CARE Rehoming & Welfare Ass't: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Workrider - Pauline & Doug Harkin Racing
    Night Shelter Project Worker -
    Catching Lives, Development Dept. Worker - BBC, Charity Campaigner - Gift Fundraising, Admin Assistant: National Trust, Trainee Accountant: Chavereys, Property Negotiator: Foxtons, Activity Instructor: PGL, Store Manager: - Mountain Trek & Travel, Pampered Pets, Legal Assistant: Property Co., Clinical Trials Assistant: Cancer Research UK, Studio Designer: Impress Publishing, IT Consultant: Olsten, Sweden, Sales & Marketing: Intelligent Building Systems, Specification Officer: Cereal Partners UK, Sales Advisor: Vodaphone, Sales Agent: Saga, Community Drug Worker: KCA, Sales Ass't: Zara/Wholefood Shop/ Holland and Barrett. Contact Agent - Domestic & General Registrations Finance Mgr - The Bay Trust
Conservation Officer Intern:
Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Ass't Reserve Warden: Kent Wildlife Trust, Stable Hand: Working Horses Trust, Safari Consultant: Busanga Safaris Ltd, Science Intern: Coral Cay Conservation, Ass't Research Officer: Frontier, Wildlife Assistant, Classroom Helper, GIS Ass't & Project Manager - RSPB Amphibian & Reptile Conservation, Community Warden - Kent Wildlife Trust, Intern (Library/Archives) - World Land Trust, Environmental Educator - Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust
SELF EMPLOYED   Environmental Consultant, Freelance Ecologist: Canopy Tree and Landscape, Co-Founder - Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

Postgraduate Study. picture of butterfly

About 30% of Kent environmental science graduates have gone on to postgraduate study in recent years. This is partly because grants are more easily available in the Sciences for postgraduate study than in the Arts or Social Sciences. Also, a carefully chosen higher degree may make entry to a number of environmental careers easier. It should be remembered though that postgraduate study is not an easy option and research for a PhD will require dedication and determination to see things through over a period of 3 or more years. When choosing a course, try to make sure that it is of high quality, and that the university has a good reputation. You will find research and teaching quality assessments at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/postgradmenu.htm. Also check carefully the employment record of the course and whether it has links with potential employers. If aiming at environmental jobs, the course needs to be carefully targeted at a specific area of environmental science such as pollution control or analysis and impact assessment.

See our page with Destinations of Kent MSc Conservation Biologists/Ethnobotanists

Some Master's courses which may increase your employability are:

  • Environmental Law and Policy, University of Kent
  • Conservation and Tourism, University of Kent
  • Conservation Biology, University of Kent
  • Environmental Analysis and Assessment, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Environmental Diagnosis, Imperial College London
  • Environmental Impact Assessment, Oxford Brookes University
  • Soils and Environmental Pollution, University of Reading
  • Risk Management, Middlesex University
  • Environmental Compliance (London/Bristol).
  • Environmental Pollution Control, Middlesex University
  • Environmental Pollution Science, Brunel University
  • Rural Development, University of Sussex
  • Water and Environmental Engineering, University of Surrey
  • Coastal and Marine Resource Management, University of Portsmouth
  • Environmental chemistry (Oxford/Manchester).
  • Geology/ hydrogeology (Oxford/Manchester/ Swansea).
  • Environmental Economics (Oxford).

Short Courses

  • Kent Wildlife Trust www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk conservation work in Kent including West Blean Woods. Needs volunteers. Run excellent and cheap wildlife study days on, for example, small mammal and bat identification.
  • Acorn Ecology www.acornecology.co.uk run Professional Development Courses aimed at practising and aspiring ecologists. Introductory courses are for people wanting to enter ecological consultancy careers. Concentrate on practical skills for field work and preparing reports: phase 1 habitat surveys; site assessment and report writing; ecology and surveying for protected species such as bats, badgers and great crested newts.  Advanced courses include species mitigation and bat sound analysis. 

Destinations of University of Kent Conservation Postgraduates

These statistics only cover the first six months after graduation. A significant number of graduates are, at this stage, engaged in work which they would regard as temporary – using a short-term job to gain work experience that could act as a stepping-stone to a better position, or earning money to finance postgraduate study or time out travelling. The latest destinations for all subjects including postgraduates can be found at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/fdrbases/destinations.htm

Also see Careers Help for Postgraduates and Contract Researchers


MSc Conservation & Tourism
Employed FT Unknown Admin. & Customer Service
Employed FT Coral Cay Conservation Education & PR Co-ordinator
Employed FT Bespoke Experience General Manager
Employed FT BTCV S. London Green Gym Project Officer
Further study Bangor Univ. MScConsv'n Tourism
Self Employed Bush Camp Company/Safaris Safari Consultant
Self Employed Quest Overseas Expedition Leader
MSc Conservation Biology
Employed FT Env. Education Centre Biodiversity Consultant
Employed FT Wildlife Cons. Soc., USA Conservation
Employed FT N of Eng. Zoological Soc Conservation Officer
Employed FT University of Kent Research Technician
Employed FT Global Visiion International Head of Science Field Staff
Employed FT Jersey Zoo Zookeeper
Employed FT British & Irish Association of Zoos & Aquariums Zoo Programmes Co-ordinator
Employed FT Cinque Port Vet Associates Veterinary Surgeon
Employed FT Thames Water Field Scientist
Employed FT The Wildlife Conservation Soc. Eco-tourism Development Officer
Employed FT WCS - Bronx Zoo Project Worker - Manager of National Park
Employed FT UNEP: World Conserv'n Monitoring Centre Ass't Programme Officer
Employed FT UNEP Conservation Ass't
Employed FT unknown Researcher/Conservation Ass't
Employed FT WWLF Conservation Research
Employed FT Zoological Society of London Project Ass't
Employed FT Carmona Services Clinical Nurse Mngr
Employed FT World Wild Life Fund Conservationist
Employed FT Frankfurt Zoological Society Project Manager
Employed FT Frankfurt Zoological Society Technical Adviser
Employed PT Bournemouth Univ. Professional Qual.+Legal Assistant
Employed PT Cambridge City Council Temporary Lawyer
Employed PT Office de la Chaise et de la Faune Savage PhD/M.Phil+Researcher
Employed PT Claires Store Supervisor
Employed PT The Goods Shed/Kent Univ. Waitress/M.Phil. Biodiversity
Employed PT Sainsburys On-line Shopper
Employed PT Zoological Society of London Research Intern
Employed PT Istituto di Ecologia Applicata (Conservation) Collaborator/Researching human/wildlife conflict
Employed PT Univ. of Kent Admin Ass't
Further Study University of Kent M.Phil
Further Study Open University MA Environmental Pols
Further Study UAB, Barcelona PhD Ecological Econs
Further Study University of Kent M.Phil/PhD Biodiversity Management
Office Assistant Env. Sustainable Syst  
Further Study PhD - Env. Science Durban, South Africa
Further Study PhD - Gen. & Cons.Biol. Spain
Employed FT Born Free Foundation Project Manager
Employed FT University of Illinois, USA Research
Employed FT EWI, Kenya Research Co-ordinator
Employed FT WWF - UK Research Officer
Self-employed   Principal Investigator
Travelling 2    
Employed FT Jersey Zoo Veterinary Nurse
Voluntary Work Institute of Zoology Research Intern
Voluntary Work Kalahari Meercat Project Conservation Volunteer
Voluntary Work Trusts Volunteer - Field Surveys
Employed FT Scientific Researcher Indonesian Institute of Sciences
Employed FT Silviculture Manager WWF
Employed FT Ecologist Cheetah Conservation Fund
Employed FT Survey Coordinator (Maternity Cover) The Bat Conservation Trust
Further Study FT Conservation Biology University of Kent
MSc Ethnobotany
Employed FT Kew Gardens Country Officer
Employed FT The Gatton Trust Landscape Heritage Officer
Employed FT International Trade Centre  Consultant - Organic Markets
Employed FT Fulham Health Clinic Medical Herbalist/Nutritional Therapist
Employed FT Live & Learn Environmental Education Environmental Education Officer
Employed FT National Botanic Gardens Informtion Officer
Employed FT Reading Borough Council Trainee Accountant (CIPFA)
Employed FT BBC Ass't Content Producer Website
Employed FT London Borough of Southwark Community Outreach Officer
Employed FT Weleda Pharmacist
Employed PT Univ. of Greenwich - Hadlow Sessional Lecturer
Employed PT unknown Herbalist
Employed FT Kew Gardens Ethnobotany (Res)
Further study Universite Paris - Diderot Geography
Further Study University of Kent M.Phil Anthropology
Further Study University of London, Inst. of Educ'n PhD Ethnobotany
Further Study University of Kent Ph.D Environmental Anthropology
Further Study University of Bradford PhD Ethnobotany
Further Study University of Vienna PhD (Post Tsunami in Indonesia)
Employed FT Christ Church Uni.College Lecturer
Self Employed Apicultura Fornasa Beekeeper
Self Employed Univ. of Kent Researcher
Self Employed Fitnessbodies Office Manager/Swimming Teacher
Voluntary Work Instituto del Bien Comun Assistant Anthropologist
Voluntary Work Kent & Medway Biological Records Survey/Research Ass't
Employed FT Environmental Research Associate The Sault Ste Marie Tyribe of Chippewa Indians
Employed FT Peace Corps Response Volunteer Peace Corps
Further Study FT Freelance writer & photographer/MSc Ethnobotany self-employed
Further Study FT PhD Conservation Biology Memorial University of Newfoundland
Further Study FT PhD Ethnobiology University of Kent
Further Study FT PhD in Ethnobiology University of Kent
MSc Biodiversity Management
Employed FT Not given Teaching Assistantt
Employed FT Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust Deputy Head - Bird Dep't
Further Study Univ. of Kent M.Phil. Biodiversity
Employed FT University of Edinburgh Post Doctoral Researcher
Employed FT University of Sussex Research Assistant
Employed PT University of South Florida Postdoctoral Fellow
Employed FT Research Field Director Gunung Palung Orangutan Project
Employed FT Projects director for Neotropical Primate Conservation- Peru Charity, Neotropical Primate Conservation
Employed FT Joint Nature Consv'n Committee Administrator


Skills gained studying biodiversity conservation

As part of your degree you should have developed scientific research and field survey skills, computing and data analysis skills, plus presentation and report writing skills. These skills are valuable in a wide range of careers, both environmentally related and non-environmentally related such as finance and computing. It is very important that you continue to develop these skills during your course by volunteering and short courses (see the employers and links tab above).

"Put (your skills) in the context of the role the employer is hiring for - e.g. even if you have great plant skills, you will massively benefit from demonstrating that you have used these skills to carry out botanical surveys"

Sue Searle, from her excellent book "How to become an Ecological Consultant".

For practical conservation jobs skills such as a chainsaw licence or the NPTC Agricultural Tractor Operation Certificate would help, as would GIS Skills. Arcview is a major GIS software package www.esri.com/software/arcview/index.html: you can download a 60 day free trial. MapInfo is another well known package. There is a summary of GIS Software here You'll find a list of GIS courses on www.hotcourse.com where there is also a list of short GIS courses.

What skills does a modern conservationist need? World Land Trust article

Applications and interviews for environmental jobs

Many jobs in the environment field are not advertised - organisations get enough CVs from people applying speculatively to be able to fill their vacancies from these. This means you need to learn to network and to be persistent in your job search. See the pages on
CVs and Covering Letters
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/applicn.htm and Creative Jobhunting www.kent.ac.uk/careers/sk/CJ.htm to learn how to do this.

There is an environmental/biodiversity CV example at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/environmental-cv.htm

How to write a CV for the environment and sustainability sector - THE GUARDIAN
Highlighting project experience and proving you have the skills employers want can help your CV stand out

See our science interviews section at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/ivscience.htm and the example science CV and application form at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/cv/cvexamples.htm

A selection of reports completed by students after they have been to interview. Give details of questions asked, tests administered and tips for candidates www.kent.ac.uk/careers-local/ivreps/ivrepsmenu.htm  

Practice Interviews for postgraduate study, scientific research, and other areas as well as general interviews: www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/mockivs.htm You will be asked common questions found in these interviews and given tips on how to answer them.

How to apply for a conservation job (advice from World Land Trust) www.worldlandtrust.org/resources/tips-for-job-applicants.htm

Breaking into the environment sector: tips from the graduates that made it The Guardian

Professional institutes helped me build a career in the environment sector The Guardian

Help from The Careers Service

The Careers Centre is in Keynes Driveway. You can browse in the Careers Centre as you would a library and ask at the help desk if you need assistance.

The Careers and Employability Service contains files on careers in conservation and the environment, plus directories for reference.

There are  files on

  • Environmental careers (R4 and R5)
  • Environmental Consultants (345)
  • Water Industry (283)
  • Voluntary and Charitable Organisations (157)

Plus reference books at reception including:

  • The Environmental Careers Handbook
  • Working with the Environment
  • Careers in Environmental Conservation
  • The Environmental Consultants Directory
  • The Green Directory
  • Green Volunteers

Bruce Woodcock - Careers Adviser for Biodiversity and Conservation

Environmental links




Water Companies and Fisheries

  • Anglian Water www.anglianwater.co.uk
  • Aquatic Network www.aquanet.com events in the aquatic world, also opportunities, including volunteering.
  • British Waterways www.britishwaterways.co.uk comprehensive information on British waterways, the environment and a recruitment section.
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science www.cefas.co.uk Fisheries research and consultancy
  • Fisheries Research Services www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/marine provides expert scientific and technical advice to Government on marine and freshwater fisheries, aquaculture and the protection of the aquatic environment.
  • OFWAT www.ofwat.gov.uk water regulator.
  • Thames Water www.thames-water.com recruits environmental trainees onto their Graduate Training scheme.
  • Water UK www.water.org.uk industry association that represents all UK water and wastewater service suppliers at national and European level. Links to all regional water companies
  • Wessex Water www.wessexwater.co.uk employs environmental officers

Environmental Consultancies


  • British Airports Authority www.baa.com has an environmental compliance unit. One Kent graduate is now working with them as a conservation ecologist at Heathrow Airport.
  • Lists of organic retailers www.aboutorganics.co.uk
  • WRc International www.wrcplc.co.uk independent contract research organisation. Job vacancy page.
  • Greenpages www.eco-web.com database of over 7,000 suppliers and environmental organisations from 147 countries. Extensive U.K. list, with websites.
  • Earthscan www.earthscan.co.uk searchable world directories of companies – U.K. renewable energy companies, environmental testing, monitoring and treatment companies etc.   




Also see our Charity Careers page


  • Kent Placement Portfolio www.kent.gov.uk/placementportfolio designed to help students gain real work experience. Makes finding, applying for and starting a placement as easy as possible, to enable students to build on and develop skills gained at university. Student placement opportunities with Kent’s public sector organisations, local businesses and community groups. The portfolio is currently targeting environmental, sustainability, and climate change based projects so students studying in these areas would benefit most from the facility.
  • Wildwood Trust www.wildwoodtrust.org woodland discovery park between Canterbury & Herne Bay. Volunteers needed for: maintenance, gardening and DIY; conservation research, feeding and looking after the animals, shop work and customer care, education work with children. Most volunteers work one day a week but block placements are also available. Working hours are 8am until 4pm in the winter, but during the summer we finish at 5pm. You would start by shadowing the keepers, helping to clean and feed the animals, and with enclosure maintenance. As your experience grows there would be more opportunity for independent work. The work can be quite physically demanding, and sometimes it can be repetitive but it is very rewarding. If you wish to help telephone Cali on 01227 712111 e-mail keepers@wildwoodtrust.org Research projects are available for students: animal behaviour and diet, woodland ecology or conservation projects.
  • Blean Woods Nature Reserve www.naturegrid.org.uk/ng-html/blean/bl-blwo.html Less than a mile from the Canterbury campus. There are opportunities for voluntary work. Contact: RSPB, The Site Manager, 11 Garden Close, Rough Common, Canterbury, CT2 9BP. Tel. 01227 455972.
  • Hambrook Marshes near Canterbury city centre. Kent Enterprise Trust is looking for volunteers to work on conservation of Hambrook Marshes in Canterbury (on the River Stour not far from the Westgate), also fund raising and office work. If interested, ring 01227 844475/500
  • Canterbury Environmental Education Centre www.naturegrid.org.uk/ceecnews/friends/friends.html at Broad Oak Reserve. Offer volunteering opportunities in research (recording the biodiversity of the reserve), Publishing, Conservation work (reed and scrub control, tree planting, hedge laying), teaching and leading visiting groups and fund raising.
  • Howletts www.howletts.net local wild animal parks
  • Kent Biodiversity Action Plan www.kentbap.org.uk links to a number of local conservation groups
  • Kent Wildlife Trust www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk conservation work in Kent including West Blean Woods.
    Runs excellent and cheap wildlife study days on, for example, small mammal and bat identification. Also take about 6 interns a year for unpaid 11 month internships.
    Volunteers needed to check livestock at Blean Nature Reserve
    : Kent Wildlife Trust is using cattle, ponies  and goats to keep growth under control in West Blean and Thornden Woods near Canterbury. Training will be provided. For information on Blean volunteering ring 01227 719506.
    Trainee opportunities. Volunteer workplacements are offered across several departments including reserve teams, marketing and land management. Training and travel expenses are normally paid. Many graduates have done traineeships and many have gone on to get environmental jobs.
    For information contact Sue Morris, Volunteer Development Officer 01622 662012 sue.morris@kentwildlife.org
    Can also arrange employee volunteering days where company employees work on a reserve for staff team building and personal development.
  • Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership www.kentishstour.org.uk manages countryside and urban green spaces throughout the Stour Valley promoting habitat management, recreation and education in natural sites in East Kent, including Canterbury and surrounding areas. We are always looking for student volunteers to help on tasks which provide a worthwhile extra-curricular activity and something positive to add to their CV. Recent and ongoing projects have included meadow mowing in Tyler Hill and making and installing wildlife boxes at Sturry Road Community Park.
  • Kent High Weald Project www.khwp.org.uk based in Tunbridge Wells small mammal and bat identification
  • Singleton Environment Centre Ashford www.kent.ac.uk/careers/docs/Education%20Officer.pdf Singleton Environment Centre is built within a sustainable vision. The centre is powered by an array of renewable energy resources including multiple solar panels, a carbon neutral woodchip generator and a rain water recycling plant. To find out more Follow the QR code above or visit our website. The centre holds a wide range of activities, action groups and projects that cater for a all audiences. Activities range from cultivating our onsite allotment, hosting educational pond dipping for children, out of site conservation efforts to a myriad of training and casual course opportunities. Regularly recruit volunteers.


  • World Land Trust www.worldlandtrust.org international conservation organisation that takes direct action to save rainforest: they buy it, acre by acre. Patron is David Attenborough. Since its foundation in 1989 the World Land Trust has helped purchase and protect over 350,000 acres of threatened wildlife habitats. Has a very successful six-month internship programme which aims to equip recent graduates with the skills and experience needed for a career in conservation. From time to time other voluntary opportunities and paid vacancies are also available. See the Jobs and Internships page for more details.
  • British Trust for Conservation Volunteers  www2.btcv.org.uk details of holidays and job opportunities – long term volunteer vacancies plus staff vacancies.  Also details of practical skills training and links to all kinds of local groups.
  • English Heritage www.english-heritage.org.uk jobs and volunteering opportunities
  • The Environment Council www.the-environment-council.org.uk
  • Field Studies Council www.field-studies-council.org – environmental education charity
  • Friends of the Earth www.foe.co.uk links and job vacancies.
  • Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust www.gwct.org.uk information on their work plus links to job vacancies, student placements and projects.
  • Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org.uk news and features on their activities.
  • Groundwork  www.groundwork.org.uk supports sustainable communities. Careers advice and current vacancies. “V Volunteering programme” specifically aimed at graduates looking for a career in the environmental industries.
  • The National Trust  www.nationaltrust.org.uk how to volunteer, and vacancies.
  • Natural England www.naturalengland.org.uk formed by bringing together English Nature, the landscape, access and recreation elements of the Countryside Agency and the environmental land management functions of the Rural Development Service Links and job vacancies
  • Naturenet  www.naturenet.net countryside management and nature conservation.  Links to agencies and organisations including volunteering links.
  • Oxfam www.oxfam.org.uk
  • Plantlife www.plantlife.org.uk wild plant conservation charity works throughout UK and internationally. Lists vacancies and info about their work.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew offer unpaid summer internships in economic botany and horticulture   www.rbgkew.org.uk/education/highered.htm
  • RSPB  www.rspb.org.uk job vacancies and how to volunteer
  • Scottish Natural Heritage www.snh.gov.uk job vacancies
  • Scottish Wildlife Trust www.swt.org.uk
  • The Soil Association www.soilassociation.org information about their work and how to get involved.
  • The Woodland Trust  www.woodland-trust.org.uk volunteering opportunities.
  • Worldwide Fund for Nature www.panda.org worldwide rather than U.K.
  • The Wildlife Trusts  www.wildlifetrusts.org volunteer and paid opportunities information
  • Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust www.wwt.org.uk info. on how to get involved.
  • Wildlife and Countryside Link www.wcl.org.uk coalition of 34 organisations with links to member sites.


Voluntary work and projects - timescale ranges from 1 month - 1 year. Also includes TIME OUT, EXPEDITIONS AND GAP YEARS (see file 050 in the Careers Service). Expeditions with these organisations may include a conservation or research element.

If you are using a Gap Year Organisation to organise your placement see our Checklist of Questions to Ask Most placements go well, but there is a significant minority where students feel that the experience was nothing like that promised in the glossy brochure. So before you pay out lots of money make sure you know all about the project.

  • The Great Orangutan Project www.orangutanproject.com conservation organisation in Borneo, Malaysia. The Director is a Kent graduate. They would be happy to have students come on their volunteer placements.
  • Yana Cocha animal refuge and rehabilitation centre www.yanapuma.org/en/volec_yanacocha.php in the Amazon rainforest near Puyo, Ecuador. Highly recommended by a Kent graduate who volunteered there. Centre was founded in 2006 by a local resident concerned for animal welfare. Centre relies on contributions of $150 per week from the volunteers: you are accommodated in the on-site cabins which have electricity and water and price includes food. Centre rehabilitates monkeys, cayman crocodiles, snakes, ocelots, tortoises, parrots, porcupines and kinkajous. Can also accommodate academic research projects and working with medicinal plants. No experience required. Ring 084086809 or email yanacocha@gmail.org
  • Waterland Research Institute www.pantanal.org/Waterland.htm TEFL centre and conservation project run by British Biologists in the Pantanal flooded rainforest in Brazil. Teach English to young professional Brazilians and research rare and endangered birds of prey.
  • Wildlife Action Group - Malawi www.wag-malawi.org/nav/volunteer/index.html grass roots conservation NGO working in central Malawi to conserve Thuma Forest Reserve, its wildlife and promote community engagement and sustainable utilisation of the forest. Our focal species is the African elephant but we work to conserve all species within the reserve. We have run a volunteer programme for a number of years. While we do not have a set volunteer programme our volunteers slot onto the work which is being carried out at the time, they effectively act as staff while they are with us. We also offer long term internships. We do charge minimal costs in order to cover the volunteer expenses. This is a placement which is best suited to mature students or those near the end of their studies. We have a wide range of research opportunities including both wildlife and socio economic fields.
  • Community Centred Conservation (C3) www.c-3.org.uk reasonably priced conservation internships in threatened tropical marine ecosystems.
  • AgriVenture www.agriventure.com run by the International Agricultural Exchange Association (IAEA). Opportunities in 12 countries in agriculture and horticulture, from four months to over a year.
  • Azafady www.madagascar.co.uk
  • Blue Ventures www.blueventures.org global coral reef conservation and research. projects in Madagascar, Tanzania, New Zealand, South Africa and the Comoros Islands. Recommended by a Kent Wildlife Conservation graduate.
  • BSES Expeditions www.bses.org.uk
  • BUNAC (Work Ghana ) www.bunac.org
  • Careers Abroad www.careersabroad.co.uk field work placements and career opportunities in the fields of sustainable development, biological and zoological research, environmental education, conservation.
  • Global Vision International  www.gvi.co.uk works with organisations such as the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund and International Rainforest Concern.
  • Coral Cay Conservation www.coralcay.org
  • Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit www.crru.org.uk offer summer training courses and student project placements
  • Earthwatch www.earthwatch.org
  • Ecoteer www.ecoteer.com The cheapest volunteer placement website . Volunteer placements in over 40 different countries at ecolodges, conservation and community development projects. The majority of placements offer free food and accommodation.
  • Experience International www.expint.org 6 to 18 months' practical work experience placements in the land-based sector in NW of the USA. Typical placements include forestry management, tree production, seed orchard management, dairy production and management, golf course and turf management, aquaculture, environmental, crop production, plant production and nursery management.
  • Fiskardo's Nautical and Environmental Club www.fnec.gr small environmental organisation conducting environmental and community activities with volunteers on the Greek island of Kephalonia .
  • Global Volunteer Network www.volunteer.org.nz community projects, including environmental work, health and sanitation, in China , Ecuador , Ghana , Nepal , Uganda , and Romania
  • Greenforce www.greenforce.org
  • International Exchange Program UK www.iepuk.com international rural placements for 18-30 year-olds with one year's practical experience. Placements are in agriculture, equine, horticulture, wine production, aquaculture, forest and ecosystem management, landscaping, golf courses and wildlife.
  • Outreach International www.outreachinternational.co.uk
  • Pacific Island Jobs (PIJ) www.pacificislandjobs.com 'one stop shop' for those wanting to work or volunteer in the Pacific. All vacancies advertised focus on the environment and social change. Information on paid and volunteering opportunities for the whole of the Pacific region, from Australia Hawaii. Sustainable development is a key objective of PIJ.
  • Projects Abroad www.projects-abroad.co.uk/teaching-projects-abroad
  • Raleigh International www.raleigh.org.uk Expeditions
  • Shumba Experience www.shumbaexperience.co.uk conservation and community placements on game reserves, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation research projects throughout Southern and Eastern Africa
  • Student Conservation Association www.thesca.org Internships are available from three months in all USA states. Conservation corps interns volunteer on various conservation projects located in national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and state conservation areas.
  • Teaching and Projects Abroad www.teaching-abroad.co.uk
  • Trekforce Expeditions www.trekforce.org.uk
  • Voluntary Service Overseas www.vso.org.uk
  • World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) www.wwoof.org volunteer and gain skills by working on organic farms throughout the world. Work on long and short-term projects and get food and accommodation provided in return for volunteering.


Also see our comprehensive List of International Development Orgamisations



Last fully updated 2016