https://environmentagency.blog.gov.uk/2017/12/27/new-year-new-career-become-an-environment-officer/

New year, new career - become an Environment Officer!

Environment Officers carry out a wide range of tasks in the office and out on the ground.
Environment Officers carry out a wide range of tasks in the office and out on the ground.

I’ve always had an interest in the environment. It was only at the age of 45, after speaking to friends who worked at the Environment Agency that I finally decided to apply. They told me about their roles and it sounded really interesting and a really dynamic organisation to work for.

That was just over 9 months ago, and I’m now based in Leeds, working in the Waste and Environmental Management team. Our job is to regulate companies that have environmental permits. We check that they’re compliant with permit restrictions and if they aren’t, we offer them advice on how to meet the requirements. We also gather evidence for possible prosecutions or enforcements, where operators aren’t compliant.

We try to be as visible as we can when we’re out in the public. That’s one of our mantras: Think Big – Act Early – Be Visible. So we’ve got to think of the bigger picture and how it’s affecting everybody. We’re very aware that we’re part of the Environment Agency team and that involves acting appropriately, giving advice and being approachable to members of local communities.

A varied role

There's much more to being an Environment Officer than you would expect. The Environment Agency employs people from all walks of life, and it's often the skills they've picked up along the way that make them such a great addition to our team.

The role itself is quite varied, with both office-based work and opportunities to be out in the field dealing with incidents when they come in. In my previous roles, I’d been working with people and gained a lot of skills in communication that have really helped me.

One of the biggest skills that I bring to the role is being able to communicate effectively at various levels. Some of the projects we work on are quite high-profile and get a lot of publicity. Being in the public eye and being able to help the public when we are out in the environment - that’s what I really like about the role.

Environment Officers inspect waste tyres
Environment Officers inspect waste tyres

Unique training opportunities

You have to build a wide range of skills across different areas to be an Environment Officer. I’m in the waste team, but I also deal with incidents as they come in, so there could be a water incident and I’d have to know how to deal with it. That’s where the training helps. It was one of the things that interested me in the role.

I knew it would be quite varied and interesting - you get to jump in a river in a dry suit, get trained by the fire brigade, hear from professional lawyers about enforcement and collecting evidence, and ex-policemen train you on how to gather evidence, collate that evidence, and then how to present it in court. When they said we’d be going out with the police I wondered if we might be in their way, but they treat us as equals. They come to us for questions and advice and really make us feel part of the team.

With the training I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep up with my younger colleagues, but it’s not been an issue. The training is all done at your own pace and in a straight-forward format and everyone helps each other out. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses within the teams and department, so there’s always someone there to help you along.

An Environment Officer samples a river for pollution
An Environment Officer samples a river for pollution

I’d really encourage people to apply if it’s the kind of role they want to do. The job definitely takes commitment and fortitude, but if your heart is in it and you take pride in your work, if you want to make a difference and protect the environment, then it’s a really worthwhile role.

 

Ashley Hare is an Environment Officer with the Environment Agency. He is currently in the waste team and has been with the Agency for just over 9 months.

If you think you’ve got the skills and commitment to become an Environment Officer like Ashley, apply now.

 

18 comments

  1. Comment by David Tinkler posted on

    Are there any job opportunities in the North East and if so how do I find out about them and apply?

    Reply
  2. Comment by Denis Rossiter posted on

    Is 53 too old to consider applying ?

    Reply
    • Replies to Denis Rossiter>

      Comment by kathrynbooth posted on

      Good Morning - The EA workforce planning helps us achieve our aims by making sure that we have the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. We do not discriminate against age, gender etc. Best wishes with your future career choice. Eileen

      Reply
    • Replies to Denis Rossiter>

      Comment by kathrynbooth posted on

      Good Morning - absolutely not...The EA workforce planning helps us achieve our aims by making sure that we have the right number of people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time. We do not discriminate against age, gender etc. Best wishes with your future career choice. Eileen

      Reply
  3. Comment by Dorothy Russell posted on

    Is there an age limit. ie: how old is too old to apply?

    Reply
  4. Comment by Mark R posted on

    I've tried to see what current vacancies are available but there isn't a link ?

    Reply
    • Replies to Mark R>

      Comment by kathrynbooth posted on

      Good morning Mark
      We do not accept speculative CVs and all applications must be made via our online application form.

      You can find information about working for the Environment Agency on the GOV.UK website including all our current vacancies. In some circumstances we will also advertise in national and local newspapers, Job Centres and employment agencies.

      You can search for a job on our recruitment system. Please use the link below:

      https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency/about/recruitment

      Regards
      Margaret

      Reply
  5. Comment by Jason pole posted on

    When can i start ?? 😀

    Reply
  6. Comment by Kevin O'Neill posted on

    Is a driving licence essential for field work?

    Reply
  7. Comment by Ms penny Ashton posted on

    Any special qualifications needed .

    Reply
    • Replies to Ms penny Ashton>

      Comment by kathrynbooth posted on

      Good Morning - the job specification gives the experience required - Eileen

      Reply
  8. Comment by Hannah posted on

    I work in ecological consultancy at the moment but keep checking every week for an environment officer position in my area. Is there any volunteering opportunities/training that I could do in the mean time to keep up to date with environmental issues?

    Reply
  9. Comment by James posted on

    Hi , I am relocating to the South West region at some point in the not to distant future and I look forward to applying to the EA for a suitable role which matches my current skill set.
    To help me plan for the future can you advise on whether there are particular periods/seasons when a vacancies become available. For instance, I noticed there were lots of vacancies advertised around the New Year period but there are only 9 national vacancies advertised today.

    Reply

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