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Young people urged to 'go green' and seek sustainable jobs

ECO-FRIENDLY: A pair of Zipcar club car-sharing Volkswagen Golf GTE plug-in petrol-electric hybrid cars being recharged on a street in central London

ALMOST TWO thirds (65 per cent) of 18-24 year olds across the UK say they would prefer a job in the green economy as opposed to any other industry, research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has revealed.

The survey also found that more than half (59 per cent) of young people were interested in a “green collar” job.

When asked why they want to pursue a “green collar” job, 67 per cent of young people say to help tackle climate change, 49 per cent say to work in an ethical sector’ and 46 per cent say to work in a growing sector.

We take a look at the careers of two high-achievers in the field and find out why they would recommend a role in the field.

The physicist tackling air pollution and helping young people get into STEM

PICTURED: Dr Mark Richards

Name: Dr Mark Richards
Profession: Atmospheric Physicist
Job Title: Lecturer, Imperial College
Occupation: Atmospheric Physicist
Qualification: BSc in Chemistry (University of Manchester) and a PhD in Physics from Imperial College London
Age: 48
Salary: Ranges from £25,000 going right up to £80,000+ as you progress / diversify in your career
* Dr Richards main research interest lies in remote sensing of trace gases in the atmosphere, air quality and urban air pollution.

* He developed a means to monitor and map air quality in real time and applied this expertise towards co-founding an Imperial spin-out, Duvas Technologies Ltd. The air sensing technology provides a platform for users to detect and monitor air pollution in real time over short distances, a radical departure from how it was done previously using static machines in sparse fixed location. The mobile sensing technology allows for real time ‘pollution mapping’ across large or small regions.

* As head of physics outreach, he shares his experiences with many young people from all walks of life, to help them prepare for further study and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).  

* Dr Richards is involved in outreach and public engagement initiatives in the UK, US, Caribbean, and Africa, all which aim to inspire the next generation of STEM thinkers.  For one event, he hosted Charles Bolden Jr and provided him a platform to share his journey - as an African American from humble beginnings, to how he became a pilot, astronaut, and head of NASA, with hundreds of young people from all over the UK.

Why he thinks young people should consider a role in the green economy
“It offers scope to work in a very multidisciplinary field which offers lots of room to develop a career in different directions. For example, academia, technology, health, finance, policy to name a few. In tandem, they can actively see the difference they are making, tackle global challenges and have an opportunity to develop and work with innovative technologies.”

The applications engineer developing air quality monitoring tools to help reduce pollution

PICTURED: Tayyaba Rizvi

Name: Tayyaba Rizvi
Company: Senior Applications Engineer at Duvas Technologies
Job Title: Senior Applications Engineer


Salary: £32K - £45K 

* Tayyaba Rizvi works with a team of engineers to develop and design high precision air quality monitoring instruments.

* Her role is split between the technical and commercial sides. I give presentations at international conferences, provide onsite training to new clients as well as manage a team of engineers to build and calibrate the instruments and provide technical support for all existing clients from our facility. 

* After working in the oil and gas sector for a few years, Tayyaba wanted a change from handling diesel and petrol samples daily. Her current role keeps her on her toes, with no two days being the same, meaning there is very little opportunity to become bored.

* By building awareness on the importance of clean air and educating clients on the impact of their emissions, Tayyaba is contributing to the UK’s long-term plan to reduce air pollution. The technology Duvas Technologies has developed directly correlates with legislation that is being enforced. 

Why Tayyaba thinks young people should consider a role in the green economy

“Monitoring air quality is a hot topic, there are always new queries and potential applications for the technology as legislation surrounding air quality tightens. Moving into this sector has not only made me more aware of the importance of good air quality but it is also empowering as I feel like my work is benefitting society. 

“As the importance of climate change and clean growth becomes more prevalent, the industry will only continue to grow. Further opportunities will become available resulting in promising prospects for newer graduates. It is a flexible industry as it fully establishes itself in accordance with current legislation. For individuals who have an affinity for creativity and innovation, I would highly recommend choosing a career in the green economy.” 

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