There has been an expansion in the number of job opportunities within this field of work as a result of government and international environmental policies and National Lottery funded projects.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- preparing and distributing publicity materials and displays
- writing plans, reports and press releases
- producing educational resources
- liaising with schools, businesses, LEAs, voluntary/community groups and other local organisations
- organising school visits
- generating income via fundraising activities, submitting funding bids etc
- managing budgets
- allocating funding
- supervising and training staff/volunteers
- analysing data and collating information
- attending conferences.
Working with people is a key feature of the job and includes conservation awareness events such as talks, presentations, workshops and guided walks, helping with volunteer activities and conservation projects.
Employers of environmental education officers include charities, The National Trust, local authorities/LEAs, The Wildlife Trusts, government organisations such as Natural England and conservation groups including The British Trust for Conservation Volunteers and Groundwork UK.
Environmental education is a popular career choice and vacancies attract intense competition. Unpaid opportunities are easier to obtain and greatly outnumber salaried positions (paid vacancies are few and not usually well paid). Vacancies are advertised via the internet, in newspapers, local authority vacancy lists and publications such as New Scientist, Nature, Opportunities and The Environment Post. Many jobs receive little advertising, so networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are advisable.
To become an environmental health officer you will usually need a relevant degree or HND qualification. You may be able to enter the profession without qualifications, but this is rare.
To become an environmental education officer it is usually necessary to possess at least six months prior relevant work experience (paid or voluntary) and an appropriate degree/HND gained in a subject such as education, community studies, countryside management, agricultural science, horticulture, biology, geography, plant sciences/botany, zoology or environmental sciences. In order to enter the profession without qualifications you would need a great deal of appropriate work experience.
Candidates should be computer literate and have excellent interpersonal, organisational and communication skills. A driving licence, first aid and/or health and safety training can be helpful, as can experience of initiating and managing projects, supervising others and organising guided walks and school groups.