After Green Careers Week last week, Minna Davies interviews Freddie Ireland.
Freddie is the Environmental Executive at Castle Rock Brewery, Nottingham, who tells Minna why having a Green Career is so important to him
Freddie didn't realise he wanted a Green Career until he started University and he realised he could get more statisfaction out his career than he thought possible...
Freddie, tell me why did you want a green career?
I wanted to work towards something that means something important - sustainability and green issues. This came out of my undergraduate degree (at the University of York in Politics and International Relations) when I did a module on ‘Green Politics’. I thought it would be dull but it was really interesting and I realised I cared a lot more about it than I thought I would! Having worked in this role for nearly 2 years, my role makes me feel like I’m part of something and working towards a cause.
How did you get your current job?
It was through working in the pub estate. I made relationship with the Managing Director and in conversation with him suggested the company wasn’t doing enough on Green issues, and that I was the person to lead them in making a change.
What does your job entail?
As Environmental Executive, my role involves things like leading our Environmental Steering group which comprises of all department heads, including the Managing Director, measuring the carbon emissions of our brewery and pub estate and setting our company agenda for our decarbonisation journey.
What qualifications did you pursue to work in the Green sector?
Master of Science in Environmental Leadership and Management as well as a Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management. Getting these qualifications was not only fun and interesting but also important in getting my current job. In my experience, you need two things to get a role such as I have now; practical experience and theoretical qualifications. A lot of the time you need one to get the other.
What about your peers from your Masters, are they working in the Green Sector?
Yes! They’re pursuing a range of different careers across the industry. Some are working for the Environmental Agency, some are working on rivers and flood protection, some have gone into consultancy for private companies and others are completing PHDs and further research.
Why are Green Careers important?
Green Careers are important because they give you a sense of being part of something that other careers don’t offer. You aren’t just working for money but also for a cause. I find this very motivating.
What are your aspirations for your Green Career?
My aim is to work in local Government and to lead a sustainability team exploring how to increase biodiversity.
What are the differences, if any, between a Green Career in the private or public sectors?
Unfortunately a key difference is the lower wages for entry/mid-level roles in the public sector. However, because these bodies don’t run for profit they have more of an opportunity to emphasise on Green initiatives. Whereas in private companies, if there is a choice between pursuing Green options or profit you can’t necessarily blame them for choosing profit (unless they’re deliberately polluting!).
A part of the reason I’d like to work in local Government is because it is for the people, so they have to do what is right for the environment. In the public sector, you’ll often find a better base line of enthusiasm and effort in relating to their Green work.
What does the future look like for Green Careers?
We need more practical Green degrees and qualifications to bridge the gap between earnest theoretical degrees and hands-on experience of what will get the job done. I didn't get the practical skills that I’ve since found that the work place needs, which makes me not as enticing a candidate in the job market. In my case, Covid-19 affected our ability to do business placements during my Masters degree. Ideally in the future, applicants will come out of studying with knowledge and experience and into a job market with lots of opportunities for them.
There are lots of jobs in Green careers, but not a lot can be done without more funding in green issues generally. A common feeling of those working in Green careers is “we’re working hard but don't have money”. In the future, I’d love to see more Government funding for the Green sector and more support for those working in Green careers trying to do the right thing.
To find out more about Green Careers Week visit: Organisations 2023 - Green Careers Week
Minna Davies is one of Push's Editorial, Marketing and Administrators who has kindly conducted this interview, just for you, following on from Green Careers Week.
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