earth with green background

Careers in Sustainability Scotland

20 Apr 23 3 minute read

Are you interested in a career in sustainability? 

As you begin to make choices as to the type of career you would like to pursue; there will no doubt be lots of questions that will cross your mind. Where do you want to be based? Which sector would you like to work in? Do you want a job that involves practical labour? Would you like an office job? 

These are hugely important questions, but, to celebrate Earth Day 2023, we want to highlight how the decisions you make as you begin to look to your own future can help contribute to the future of Scotland's Circular Economy. 

To understand how a future career can do this, let's start with the initial questions you may have; what is the circular economy, and what makes a job green?

children holding up the earth with their hands

What is the circular economy?

The circular economy is the approach of reducing the consumption of natural resources as well as reducing waste and pollution through keeping products and materials in use for as long as possible and recycling materials at the end of their service life.

What is a green job?

There has been a lot of work done to help us understand what exactly a green job is. Put simply; a green job will produce resources or provide services that benefit the environment or will include duties that ensure the organisations processes are environmentally conscious and sustainable. 

Skills you need for a career in sustainability

Circular skills are those skills used to preserve the value and extend the lifespan of a product or material. Through the development of skills, such as the ones below, you can find your way into a green job: 

  1. Entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, and innovation to identify and generate ideas for new products and services

  2. Sustainability skills to understand and assess sustainability impacts

  3. Digital skills

  4. Experience of digital machine manufacturing systems and processes

  5. Sensemaking

  6. Business and data analysis skills

  7. Communication and information skills

  8. Skills for data and market analysis

What does this mean for you?

A green job can involve a wide variety of skills across various sectors. You may not yet realise that you may already have the skills needed to adopt a circular mindset and create a green job. 

There are jobs which can be more easily linked to being green. For example, Renewable Energy Engineering, which will help achieve net zero emissions and directly involves improving sustainability. 

However, we can look beyond this to discover just how many jobs have the opportunity to promote sustainability:

  • In the Construction industry, it is becoming more popular to reuse their waste resources and ensure they are maximising the life of their products, such as old bricks and tiles. 
  • Product developers can experiment and innovate around the reapplication of waste or resources into other industries. 
  • There are innovation opportunities associated with repurposing wind turbines, such as the fibreglass blades which currently are not easily recycled. 
  • Sales and Marketing roles have an increased responsibility to ensure an organisations external image is seen to promote sustainable activities. 

By promoting these values, you are enabling the acceleration of circular activities, allowing Scotland's Circular Economy to thrive.

How can you get involved?

The Circular Economy Challenge is a national enterprise challenge, introducing students to the idea of a Circular Economy and the impact of our society on the planet. 

The programme is designed to introduce young people to the benefits and principles of the Circular Economy through case studies and interaction with business ambassadors. Pupils will design a 'circular' product or service where everything has value, and nothing is wasted. They will then be given the opportunity to present their ideas to a judging panel of experts.

Visit Enterprise Education for more information on the Circular Economy Challenge.

If you would like to find out how you can find a green job, Skills Development Scotland have the resources for you, find out more on their website

school kids collaborating on a project

Circular jobs in Scotland

The core strategies of the circular economy used to keep materials in circulation for as long as possible at their highest value creates the opportunity for a wide range of circular jobs from entry level to highly specialised and skilled positions. We have a variety of resources and infographics available to help you learn more about careers in the circular economy. 

A person working in a business workshop