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Green careers

In a country with many social and environmental issues, choosing a career for the environment can present interesting opportunities. As South Africa transitions to a more inclusive green economy, making a green career choice can bring benefits for our country and ensure that a healthy environment supports our collective well-being.

What is the issue?

Despite growth in the job market for the environment, and the emergence of many new and exciting career options, many of these career pathways are not well known to most South Africans.

There are sometimes also misconceptions about what working for the environment means, as it goes far beyond working as a Park Ranger in a remote nature reserve that is fenced off from people. Traditional conservation careers include the Game Ranger, Taxonomist, Freshwater Ecologist and Marine Biologist, amongst others. In recent years there are many new and interesting green jobs emerging such as the Environmental Manager, Environmental Lawyer, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Economist and Sustainability Manager.

Some careers that we know well are also changing to contribute to our economy as it becomes greener. These include electricity efficiency in green architectural design and plumbing for water efficiency.

How can we, in our career choices, contribute to South Africa’s low-carbon future and our green economy?

What are we doing?

WWF provides relevant and quality information and tools to guide and inspire decision making for a green career.

How do we do this?

By working closely with our partners in the academic and environmental sectors, WWF develops and maintains career materials to encourage careers for a green economy.

Through WWF’s Green Careers project, we provide toolkits for promoting green careers in schools, colleges, universities and the workplace.

Who do we work with?

We work with partners in the environment sector including other environmental NGOs, corporates and universities across the country as well as schools and colleges, raising the profile of green careers.

How did it start?

In 2013, WWF conducted an analysis of green career guidance at universities across South Africa. This showed that very few universities had such information. Some had none. WWF worked with 12 universities to develop a set of green career guidance materials and toolkits. These are to assist with guidance on campus about green career options that contribute to a better world. In this project 23 green careers were profiled. Our plan is to expand this scope.

What are the big wins?
  1. Our materials on 23 green careers are available at 25 university campuses across South Africa. This information is also promoted through ongoing participation at university career fairs.

  2. Through the presence of WWF at career fairs on campuses, many students also learn about our Graduate Internship Programme and some have become WWF interns.