Areas of work, specialisms and alternatives

Environmental management and conservation

25 Jan 2023, 13:36

This sector is broadly concerned with managing the natural environment including open spaces and the flora and fauna that exist within them.

Aerial view of a hydroelectric dam with multiple spillways surrounded by lush greenery.

Jobs are available for graduates across a range of functions, including:

  • pollution monitoring and control
  • contaminated land/protection of protected habitats
  • monitoring agricultural processes
  • air gas and particle monitoring
  • air pollution control
  • due diligence
  • environmental monitoring and analysis
  • noise and vibration control
  • spill control and clean-up
  • groundwater services
  • asbestos services
  • monitoring and managing ecosystems.

Graduates may also work in an advisory capacity in measuring the potential environmental impact of construction developments and making recommendations on planning applications.


Conservation officers work on preserving and enhancing habitats in urban and rural areas. The Wildlife Trusts in both Northern and the Republic of Ireland provide a limited number of graduate opportunities in the protection of wildlife and countryside habitats and in promoting biodiversity. Often, graduates working with these organisations also have an educational role. Many graduates will find their job prospects significantly enhanced by travelling abroad or by doing voluntary work. Numerous NGOs operate conservation work placement programmes worldwide, the experience of which will enhance your CV greatly.


Ecologists are employed in recording and monitoring the range and volume of species which exist in a particular area and they study and report on the interaction between the species in that habitat.


Environmental consultants, officers and managers may help those operating within industry and agriculture to ensure that they uphold sustainable practices aligned with the regulatory framework for their sectors.


Employment with fisheries and the conservation of freshwater habitats is another option for graduates. Jobs can be found with public and private sector bodies protecting and developing stock in marine or freshwater/inland fisheries. At sea, fisheries officers will work with colleagues in the inspection processes for all those harvesting and selling marine fish stock. Those gaining roles concerning freshwater/inland fish stocks are responsible for researching, monitoring, assessing and protecting fish and other aquatic life.


Water quality scientists and water conservation officers engage in the monitoring, protection and management of areas where groundwater is critical or may also work with organisations responsible for drinking water supplies. Others may be involved with projects concerning rivers, lakes and estuary monitoring and management. They also act in an advisory capacity on the impact that developments such as drainage projects will have on the environment. As our climate changes and flooding becomes a wider issue across the UK and Ireland, flood and coastal management roles are rising for engineering graduates in particular

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