Financial services customer adviser, Wk 31 July

Last week was our Work Experience week for Year 10 students. Eight of them were very kindly invited to attend the NatWest call centre office at Parklands, Middlebrook, where they learned all about the business of banking in the 21st century! 

They are currently advertising a Customer Services apprenticeship, paying over £18,000 per year! Just have a look on NatWest Careers for more details.

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Sales adviser, contact centre agent

Financial services customer advisers work in contact centres for banks, insurance, investment and credit companies.

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How to become a financial services customer adviser

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include:

  • Level 1 Award for Introduction to Customer Service
  • Level 2 Certificate in Customer Service
  • Level 2 Certificate in Contact Centre Operations

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Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through a financial services customer adviser intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could start as an admin assistant with a company and move into financial services work by training on the job.

Direct application

You could apply directly to become a financial services customer adviser. It will help if you have:

  • GCSEs, including English and maths, or equivalent
  • computer and keyboard skills
  • experience of customer service, cash handling or office work

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a financial services customer adviser from The London Institute of Banking and Finance.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • maths knowledge
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

Most employers will expect you to have a credit check to confirm that you don’t have any outstanding debts which could prevent you from working in financial services.

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • dealing with other businesses, private or company investors or members of the public
  • using computerised systems to access customer information and update account details
  • answering customers’ questions
  • providing straightforward information or dealing with complex enquiries
  • processing payments and withdrawals
  • keeping accurate records
  • promoting financial products and services
  • handling complaints or referring them to a supervisor
  • referring customers to staff to sell financial products

 

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Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With training and qualifications, you could specialise in mortgage advice, pensions work or financial advice.

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RAF airman or airwoman Wk 30 July

This week we are looking at careers in the RAF, as at least three Year 10s are spending their work experience week at RAF bases! They are all currently  Air Cadets, and all intend to apply to the RAF once they leave school. As you will see there are a huge range of careers within the service – it’s not all flying aeroplanes!

Royal Air Force (RAF) airmen and airwomen use specialist skills for support roles in defence and peacekeeping missions.

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How to become an RAF airman or airwoman

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

You could apply to join the RAF through an HM forces serviceperson intermediate apprenticeship.

You’ll still need to apply directly to the RAF to discuss which is the best apprenticeship route for you. This will depend on your qualifications and which service role you’re interested in.

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Entry requirements

  • entry requirements vary

More information

Volunteering and experience

You can join the RAF Reserve to get some experience of what life is like in the air force and to learn new skills.

You’ll need to:

  • be between 18 and 54
  • commit to at least 27 days a year
  • attend a 2-week training camp each year

If you’re between 13 and 18 years old, you can join the Air Cadets.

You’ll visit RAF bases and develop some of the key skills that the RAF will be looking for in their recruitment selection process should you go on to apply.

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Direct application

You can apply directly to join the RAF.

You’ll need:

  • at least 3 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and maths, and a science for some roles
  • to be over 16 years old – upper age limit varies depending on the role
  • to be physically fit

If your initial application is accepted, you’ll be invited to talk to someone at your local armed forces careers office about what you want to do, and take an aptitude test.

If you successfully complete the initial stage, you’ll be invited to attend further interviews and assessments, which include fitness and medical tests.

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More information

Further information

You’ll find out more about working in the RAF through RAF Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • physical fitness and endurance
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others in a team
  • concentration skills and quick reactions
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

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Day-to-day tasks

You’ll provide specialist support in one of the following areas:

  • aircrew, including non-commissioned aircrew and weapon systems operators
  • engineering and technical roles like aircraft technician
  • catering and hospitality jobs like catering officer
  • security and defence in areas like firefighting and the RAF police
  • medical and medical support work in dental, nursing, medical and laboratory roles
  • personnel support, including administration and training
  • air operations support, like air traffic controllers
  • communications and intelligence roles like photographer and intelligence analyst
  • logistics and equipment, including driver and supply officer roles

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Working environment

You could work at a military base or in a warzone.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

Career path and progression

As an airman or airwoman you could move up the ranks to a more senior position like corporal or sergeant. You could also apply to become a commissioned officer.

You could go into a wide range of careers once you leave the RAF, depending on your skills, training and qualifications.

The Career Transition PartnershipQuest and Troops to Teachers have more information on careers outside the armed forces.

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Tech jobs of the future…. Wk 29, June

7 Tech Jobs of the Future

This week we are looking at a selection of jobs that may be your job in the future. I have to admit that I don’t understand most of the content below, but if you do – you have a massive advantage over most of your peers!

The Tech Industry is growing faster than any other sector of the UK economy. 32% faster to be precise. Check out our predictions for the 7 hottest tech jobs of the future.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: DevOps Engineer

This relatively new field of engineering took the tech industry by storm. DevOps is appreciated for its huge focus on agile methodologies and collaboration within teams. Results? Higher efficiency and better quality of products and even more demand for DevOps engineers. To pursue a career in DevOps, you need to understand software development and its lifecycle.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Data Scientist

The demand for skilled data scientists keeps skyrocketing as businesses want to make the best commercial decisions based on carefully analysed data.To get ahead, you will need to be skilled in Statistical Programming languages (such as R and Python), database query languages like SQL and mathematical concepts including Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Developer

The demand for AI Engineers will soar. As pointed out by Accenture, AI is a new factor of production, and it fuels growth through intelligent automation, labour and capital augmentation and innovation diffusion. Pursuing a path in AI will require skills in C++ and STL and knowledge of APIs such as Open GL & Physx.  A familiarity with profiling tools; Perl and Perforce will set you on the road to success. A passion for building and playing games won’t hurt either.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Internet of Things Architect

As Forbes argues based on Forrester research, ‘the IoT will become the backbone of future customer value, the IoT infrastructure will shift to the edge and to specialized IoT platforms, developers will have a significant impact on platforms and initiatives.’ Therefore, it is safe to argue that the demand for IoT engineers will increase. To pursue this career, you will need a sound base in Machine to Machine (M2M) strategy, along with cloud-based technologies, security and other professional services.  You will also need to be strongly skilled in technology marketing and have solid analytical skills.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Blockchain Engineer

Visual Capitalist argues that blockchain technology has limitless opportunities. While blockchain is primarily utilised in financial transactions at the moment, they predict that it will be extensively used in healthcare, decision-making and identity. Skills in cryptography, hush algorithms, distributed systems, advanced maths and an exposure to blockchain platforms are all vital currency if you want to buy your way into a career within this growing field.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Cybersecurity Engineer

Cyber threats are growing in volume and complexity. It’s not only companies that are potential targets – governments and organisations are just as likely to be attacked. Hence, specialising in cybersecurity is a safe bet. Firewall and network certifications such as CCP, CISSP and CCNA security hold the key to progression in this growing industry.  Other skills to help get your foot through the door include a fundamental understanding of networking, encryption and tokenisation technologies along with a knowledge of ethical hacking practices.

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Tech Jobs of the Future: Virtual Reality Engineer

VR is more and more refined and it is going to change our lives quite a bit in the near future. From virtual shops and VR interior design applications to emergency response and distraction simulation to train drivers… VR will go way more mainstream than it is now. If you want to pursue career in VR, your skill set will need to include the ability to work with tools such as Objective-C, C++, C, C#, OpenGL, OpenGL ES and Direct X.  You will need to display a solid ability to work with graphics and digital image processing, coupled with a knowledge of mobile app development.  In short, a sound computer vision will allow you to step into the world of VR.

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Food scientist Wk. 28 June

Most people like trying new foods but how do you know if they’re safe to eat?

What if you like making food, but don’t fancy being a chef or working in a restaurant?

Perhaps the job for you is Food Scientist or Food Technologist – read on for more details!

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Food technologist

Food scientists and food technologists develop food and drink products, making sure they are safe to consume.

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How to become a food scientist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You’ll usually need a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:

  • food science
  • food studies
  • food technology

Employers may also accept other subjects like chemistry or nutrition.

If you have a degree in an unrelated subject, you could study a postgraduate course like food safety or food quality management.

Experience of working in a food science or food development environment, for example through an industrial placement, may improve your career prospects.

 

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Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science
  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

More information

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Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a food technologist advanced apprenticeship then move on to a food industry technical professional degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a degree apprenticeship

More information

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Work

You could start as a food technician or lab assistant with a food manufacturer and study for further qualifications while you work.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a food scientist from the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of biology
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

 

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a food scientist, you’ll:

  • provide accurate nutritional information for food labelling
  • investigate ways to keep food fresh, safe and attractive
  • find ways to save time and money in food making
  • test the safety and quality of food

As a food technologist, you’ll:

  • blend new ingredients to invent and modify recipes
  • conduct experiments and produce sample products
  • design production processes and machinery

Working environment

You could work at a research facility or in a laboratory.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

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Career path and progression

You could work for a range of organisations involved in researching and developing new products, including:

  • food manufacturers and supermarkets
  • government and university research establishments
  • local authorities

You could improve your career prospects by getting Registered Scientist (RSci) or Chartered Scientist (CSci) status through the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

With experience you could become a project leader or manage a department like research and development or quality control. You could also move into fields like chemical engineering, agricultural research, toxicology or nutrition science.

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Interpreter Wk 27, May

As it’s the European parliament elections this week, I thought we would concentrate on jobs involving languages, of which interpreter is just one. Languages are so useful in our increasingly global society – and employees who are fluent in another language are highly sought after.

Interpreters convert the spoken word from one language into another, either face-to-face or remotely.

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How to become an interpreter

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • volunteering
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by a professional body

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University

You can do a degree or postgraduate qualification in:

  • interpreting studies
  • languages and interpreting
  • translation and interpreting

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

 

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Volunteering and experience

You can find voluntary or paid work through councils or other organisations offering community interpreting services.

A community interpreting qualification will help you get work in the community. Local colleges and some universities have more information on this.

Direct application

You may be able to get into this job if you have a non-language degree, providing you’re fluent in English and a second language.

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Other routes

You can take a Chartered Institute of Linguists course like the Certificate in Bilingual Skills or the Diploma in Public Service Interpreting to help you to get a job in public service interpreting.

More information

Career tips

To be fluent, you should:

  • be able to communicate quickly, smoothly and accurately
  • know and understand informal speech, slang and regional differences
  • understand the culture of the country or countries where the language is spoken

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the National Register of Public Service Interpreters to build up your contacts and find work.

Further information

You can find out more about training and working as an interpreter from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

 

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • foreign language skills
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In conference interpreting, you’ll be:

  • working at national and international conferences, lectures and meetings
  • sitting in a soundproof booth listening to the speaker through headphones
  • interpreting speeches at the same time as the speaker and passing on the interpreted version through headsets

In consecutive interpreting, you’ll be:

  • working at smaller business meetings with 2 or more people
  • interpreting after each sentence or passage of speech

In public service interpreting, you’ll be:

  • interpreting for people using legal, health and local government services
  • checking their understanding after each sentence
  • available at short notice for emergency medical or police interviews

Working environment

You could work at a client’s business, at a conference centre, in an office, at a police station, in a court, in a prison or in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment: You will probably travel often and it may be emotionally demanding.

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Career path and progression

You could become a member of a professional association like CIOLInstitute of Translation and Interpreting, or the International Association of Conference Interpreters.

If you’re working in the public sector, you could join the NRPSI.

You could combine interpreting with translating or teaching. You could also move into management.

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Veterinary nurse Wk. 26, May

Following a very successful Eco-focus week, next week starts off with a visit from the PDSA, to demonstrate animal first aid.  Veterinary nurse seems like the ideal choice for this week’s Career of the Week.

Veterinary nurses support vets by caring for sick and injured animals.

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How to become a veterinary nurse

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship

University

You could do a foundation degree or degree in veterinary nursing accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information

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College

You can study full time for a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at college.

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons has a list of approved training organisations.

Entry requirements

You’ll need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science

More information

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Apprenticeship

You can do a veterinary nursing advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths and science

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More information

Volunteering and experience

You’ll need some work experience before you start training. You could volunteer with a vet, a local kennel or animal welfare centre, or with animal charities like the PDSA or RSPCA.

More information

Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the British Veterinary Nursing Association for training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a veterinary nurse from the British Veterinary Nursing Association.

 

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be:

  • speaking to animal owners to find out the problem
  • taking blood and urine samples from animals
  • taking x-rays
  • preparing animals for treatment and assisting vets during treatment
  • giving injections, medication and removing stitches
  • talking to pet owners about how to care for their animals
  • taking care of in-patient animals
  • supervising and helping to train other assistants
  • updating records

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Working environment

You could work at a veterinary practice.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could take on more responsibility, like practice management, supervising and training new staff, or working in veterinary supplies.

You could also train to specialise in working for a zoological/wildlife park, charity, pharmaceutical company or breeding/boarding kennels.

With further study you could work towards becoming a lecturer or researcher.

 

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Environmental consultant Wk 25, May

This week’s Career of the Week  is a very topical one. Climate change protesters recently brought London to a standstill and some countries experienced horrific weather conditions causing loss of life and homes.

Closer to home, a group of Year 8s have recently been involved in a competition run by the Engineering Development Trust, tasked with looking at the waste produced by a local business (NIS Ltd) and suggesting ways to cut waste and be more environmentally friendly at the same time!

Environmental consultants advise on sustainability, including waste management, recycling, flood risk and the effects of climate change.

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How to become an environmental consultant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

You’ll usually need a degree in environmental science, environmental studies or a related subject like:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • geoscience
  • ecology
  • agricultural science

It’s becoming more common for employers to ask for a postgraduate qualification, as well as some experience of working in an environmental setting.

 

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Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Volunteering and experience

Volunteering is a great way of getting experience and a taste of environmental work. It will also give you the opportunity to develop your skills and make contacts. You can get experience by:

  • volunteering for an environmental charity
  • applying for internships
  • studying towards a qualification that includes industry experience

Organisations who offer volunteering opportunities include:

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More information

Career tips

As a graduate you could look for postgraduate training opportunities offered through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

In a KTP you would get the opportunity to run a research project together with an industrial organisation and a university or research body. You may also work towards postgraduate qualifications.

Professional and industry bodies

You can join the Society for the Environment for professional development and networking opportunities.

Further information

You can discover more about environmental work and training through the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

 

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to read English
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • exploring the suitability of sites for developments like power stations or wind farms
  • working out environment risks from industries like energy or chemical production
  • going out to sites to collect contamination data and then analysing it
  • writing scientific reports and presenting findings
  • reporting organisations that don’t meet environmental laws and regulations
  • responding to environmental accidents and managing clean-up operations
  • providing advice to industry or government

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Working environment

You could work in an office or at a client’s business.

Your working environment may be you’ll travel often and outdoors some of the time.

Career path and progression

With experience you could move into an associate role, or senior or principal consultant position.

Other options include lecturing or running your own consultancy business.

 

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