The recent Employability and Careers Expo, organised by the Student Development Team, was a resounding success, offering many engaging events to help guide students, from Undergraduate to MBA, in their career development.
Students with their hands up asking questions in lecture theatre

Among these, the "Navigating Sustainability Careers" panel emerged as a standout event. It provided invaluable insights into opportunities within the rapidly growing sustainability industries. Esteemed industry experts shared practical and honest advice on entering and excelling in this field.

Reflecting on this experience Student Ambassador, Theo Laver, shares some of the top insights from the panellists for individuals keen on pursuing a career in sustainability.

As a passionate advocate for sustainability and hoping to pursue a related career, I had the privilege of attending. Chaired by Katerina Chatziioannou-Faulds from the Student Development Team at the Business School, the panel featured three distinguished professionals:

  • Gemma Jones, Director of Enterprises Sustainability at PwC
  • Callum Donaldson-Murdoch, Principal Consultant for Climate, Energy, and Landscapes at NIRAS
  • Lucy Stanfield-Jenner, Director and Head of Natural Capital at Savills

The diverse backgrounds and career paths of the panellists allowed for unique perspectives on breaking into what is a rapidly growing, yet highly competitive industry. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Career Path Exploration and Cold Emailing: Lucy Jenner emphasised the importance of directly reaching out to professionals. The panellists suggested creating our very own sustainability networking events to facilitate connections and conversations. They proposed that organising events yourself would certainly make starting a conversation easier! What is there to lose?

  • Technical and Soft Skills: Callum Donaldson-Murdoch highlighted the significance of blending technical skills with soft in sustainability roles. I learnt the importance of communication and emotional intelligence, especially in consulting environments where clients may lack knowledge in certain areas. They advised working on soft skills, by practising areas such as public speaking at any given opportunity.

  • Proving Passion: Gemma Jones emphasised the importance of showcasing genuine passion for sustainability in career pursuits. The panel explained that candidates who can demonstrate their commitment through relevant projects and experiences will have an advantage. Such opportunities are provided at the University - I have recently contributed to the Edinburgh University student-led ESG newspaper, ‘Surface News’.

As the impacts of climate change intensify, there is a growing demand for professionals who can lead the transition towards sustainable solutions. The panel highlighted the abundance of innovation in constantly evolving sectors, underscoring the potential for passionate individuals to make a difference in roles that may not even exist as of now.

The event gave me a unique opportunity to engage with students and speakers. I was able to meet new people over coffee at the end. Meeting fellow students passionate about your interests helps so much when making new friends and connections and although everyone was all on different academic and career trajectories – all of us shared a passion for sustainability and are inspired by each other’s academic and business journeys so far.

I am grateful to the Business School for organising this event and excited to utilise the knowledge gained, in my potential endeavours within the sustainability sector.