Green Fingers: careers in the green economy

Twenty years ago the idea of doing everything with the environment in mind was just a glint of humour in most people’s eyes. Today, it is big business. And important business. Building our future world while caring for our planet makes more sense than just about anything we’ve ever done. So, if you’re thinking of a career that will combine good financial returns, stability, problem-solving and eco-friendly development, then there’s a broad range of choice awaiting you.

The in-phrase is: sustainable development without degrading the environment. Pop that into the conversation with any prospective employer, and you’re in. Add in the right qualifications, focus and determination, and you’re well on the way to gaining the valuable experience you will need going forward. But what exactly are those qualifications and those jobs you could be looking for? And the answer to that is just about anything and everything.

Your career and the green economy

Today we are able to incorporate environmental attention into just about every career consideration: home design to office planning, packaging to transport, travel to energy, engineering to health, art to agriculture. Literally all these areas of engagement can be revised, devised and constituted in the shape of environmental friendliness. It’s astonishing how, with what is sometimes just a little knowledge and a few clever changes, careers can veer to green and fly with the wind and the sun – and whatever else we put our minds to.

There are specific green jobs, and these are developing all the time. Technology is beginning to look quite fat with them. There is: Environmental Impact Assessment; Sustainability and Compliance Reporting; Experts in Climate Change Mitigation; Green Designing; Green Building; Green Energy; Energy Storage; Battery Science; Power Distribution Solutions, etc.

The new green world brings with it changes in so many spheres. Working from home is one. This adds great benefit to the environment by taking extra vehicles off the roads. More homes each month are being lit with the energy of the sun; the industry in solar panels grows ever more popular. Houses and buildings are being designed to incorporate green energy solutions. With every new product designed, any energy saving or green contributing factor is seen as a major selling point. Companies are beginning to put their efforts in the green economy into their annual reports.

Soft skills also feature in the green industry; along with the technical advancements comes opportunities for work in communication, marketing, human resources, design, interiors, fabrics, furnishings – in fact, nearly every product, service or development has a green light shining, or the potential introduction of that light.

Qualifications in many disciplines can be coloured green: Chemistry, Engineering, Construction, Risk Assessment, Finance, Urban Farming, Winemaking, Education, Publishing, Waste Management, Recycling, Water Management, Architecture, etc. If the green economy was a minefield, you would never make it to the other side.

Green careers and changing trends

In this way, green careers have become ‘cutting-edge’. Like all industries, there are new trends forming all the time. Here are a few professions that have changed dramatically in the last few years:

Green Architects

This will see you using sustainable building materials and methods to design buildings and facilities that minimize any negative effects on the environment. This includes understanding and using renewable and non-toxic resources during construction. Unique methods of waste management are designed, along with water conservation, energy efficiency, and self-sustainability.

Solar Energy Systems Engineer 

This is when you get down to the nitty-gritty. Solar engineers design and develop systems to harness the energy of the sun to generate electricity and heat for buildings and water. Engineers and technicians are involved in every aspect of the installation and maintenance of solar energy systems. An engineer who adds the necessary green experience to his or her CV, will broaden their opportunities in a number of green energy fields.

Wind Energy Engineer 

Wind energy engineers design, develop and install wind turbines and wind farm collector systems. You would need at minimum a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering. The technology in this sphere is growing phenomenally, and it’s always wise to get into a truly fascinating and powerful career in the early stages.


This is a growing and essential area of work that hardly needs any formal qualification but certainly a creative eye for solutions and reworking, or safely disposing of materials. Part of the brave new world of waste management, experience in this sphere is becoming highly valued and can lead to employment in a range of affiliated services

Marketing and Social Media 

Possibly considered the least ‘green’ in the commercial world, is the marketing discipline. However, advertisers and communicators can and must be able to impart a green positive to recipients. This new norm has definitely changed the way the world does business. And at the centre point of all business is communication; it’s the core value of the way you talk to your customer and manage the sale of your products or service. So your approach should reflect something about your commitment to the green economy.

For many companies, going green has become an important part of their advertising. And a big chunk of that is social media. This is where those advertisers who understand a thing or two about the green economy are going to outshine their competitors. The green economy should become the basis for nearly everything you want to say about your products or service. This is where creativity, knowledge and technology mix superbly. Becoming a green expert simply means you can power any choice of career anywhere, and as high as the sun.


Jul 21, 2020 | Vuk’uzenzele

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