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Sustainability specialist

Sustainability consultant

In the construction industry, sustainability specialists assess the carbon footprint of a project and suggest ways to reduce its environmental impact on the wider world. They help businesses save money and progress with developments, whilst keeping an awareness of the people and ecosystems, and complying with environmental legislation.

Average salary*

£30000

-

£60000

Typical hours per week

40 - 41

How to become a sustainability specialist

There are several routes to becoming a sustainability specialist. You could do a university course, an apprenticeship or apply directly to an employer for work.

You should explore these routes to becoming a sustainability specialist, to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options have certain qualification requirements, many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

University

To become a sustainability specialist you could complete an undergraduate degree in surveying, engineering or construction.

For a senior position, you could complete a postgraduate degree in a related subject, or gain chartered status. Some companies may offer postgraduate training.

You’ll need:

Apprenticeship

You could complete an apprenticeship to become a sustainability specialist.

An apprenticeship with a construction company is a good way into the industry.

Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16. As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

Work

If you have experience of using modelling software or relevant sustainability qualifications, you could apply directly to a construction company to gain onsite experience as a sustainability specialist. You might start out as an assistant and progress as your abilities improve.

Work experience

Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works as a sustainability specialist. Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.

Skills

Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a sustainability specialist include:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Understanding of construction projects
  • Good people skills
  • Knowledge of environmental legislation
  • Project management experience
  • Ability to problem-solve.

What does a sustainability specialist do?

As a sustainability specialist, you will identify ways to improve the sustainability of construction projects. Your assessments could take into account the materials used on a project, the pollutants generated, a project’s impact on local communities and ecosystems, its eventual energy use, and compliance with environmental legislation. You could be responsible for residential developments, onshore or offshore oil and gas projects, or transport or industrial infrastructure.

The role of a sustainability specialist could involve the following duties:

  • Liaising with engineers and designers to develop sustainability plans
  • Assessing the likelihood of achieving Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings
  • Identifying a project’s sustainability risks and highlighting opportunities to reduce them
  • Preparing sustainability assessment reports
  • Advising on low and zero-carbon technology
  • Working on building sites and in an office.


How much could you earn as a sustainability specialist?

The expected salary for a sustainability specialist varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained sustainability specialists can earn £30,000 - £35,000
  • Trained sustainability specialists with some experience can earn £35,000 - £50,000
  • Senior, chartered or master sustainability specialists can earn £50,000 - £60,000*
  • Self-employed sustainability specialists set their own pay rates.

Hours and salary depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

* Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019


Vacancies

Check out the latest sustainability specialist vacancies:

As these are external websites, the number of vacancies related to your preferred role may vary. New opportunities will be posted as they come up.

Career path and progression

As a sustainability specialist, you could progress into more senior project management or advisory roles.

Alternatively, you could set up as a self-employed consultant.

You can increase your job prospects by gaining chartered status.

Progression Opportunities

Explore the progression opportunities below

  • Current role Sustainability specialist Sustainability specialists are concerned with environmental impacts, and also th...
    Read more
  • Current role Sustainability manager Sustainability managers/co-ordinators oversee the implementation of sustainabili...
    Read more
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