Graduates of the PhD programme go on to a wide variety of careers destinations. A PhD provides academic training and also experience of a wide range of transferable skills that equip graduates with the skills necessary to embark on a range of careers. Some students continue into post-doctoral positions and ultimately academic careers, whilst many find their futures in non-academic environments. Consultancy, public policy and administration in national governments and international agencies such as the United Nations and the World Bank, as well as non-governmental organisations are all careers open to graduates with a PhD from the Centre for Environmental Policy.
Phd students are encouraged to start thinking about career prospects early on, since it is possible to shape your own PhD programme to optimise your opportunities thereafter, whether you wish to continue into an academic career or not. For example, there are opportunities to undertake internships with NGOs during your PhD studies through Charity Insights, which is a great opportunity to acquire some different experience and perhaps open your eyes to other possible careers. If you wish to go into an academic career then you will need to start publishing your research during your PhD studies.
The departmental careers advisor
The Departmental Careers Advisor, Dr Bill Sheate, is Reader in Environmental Assessment and Deputy Director of the MSc Environmental Technology. Bill is also Technical Director at Collingwood Environmental Planning Ltd and over his career of more than 30 years has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors, as a practitioner and campaigner as well as an academic. He is therefore well placed to provide advice as to the nature and needs across the diverse potential career destinations for our graduates. An alumnus of the Centre himself, and having worked at Imperial for over 20 years, Bill has a long-standing connection with the department and its students. Current students and alumni can arrange as necessary individual appointments with Bill to discuss careers options.
The CEP Mentoring Scheme
CEP established a mentoring scheme for students in 2016. This has proved to be very popular and has expanded. Students are matched with experienced professionals who are alumni of the course and have meetings from the spring term onward to discuss areas of career development, approaches to job seeking and other career and networking topics.
The College Careers Service
Bill works closely with the College Careers Service; their Director, Jason Yarrow, is CEP’s main point of contact. Jason provides CV clinics in the Centre on a regular basis by appointment, and he and other Careers Service consultants can provide further advice on job hunting, CVs, mock interviews etc through booking with the Careers Service through JobsLive. The Careers Service also provides a detailed Careers Handbook with important careers advice relevant to our PhDs.
Careers seminars, events and networking
Bill and Jason provide careers seminars throughout the year for MSc and PhD students and organise specific careers events, including a session specifically for PhD students, and a careers ‘speed-dating’ event with employers where students get to talk in small groups to different types of employers, companies and organisations to gain insight into the world of work in the environmental/sustainability field and a chance to socialise and network with potential employers who might be recruiting (see photos). This networking with potential employers is also a central part of the weekly Policy seminars with external speakers, open to PhD and MSc students as well as staff during the first and second terms.
Students can also draw inspiration from the experience of a wealth of varied alumni career paths.
CEP alumni have access to the College Careers Service for three years after graduating and CEP alumni are able to access the CEP jobs list and email network for a lifetime (!) through our fantastic international alumni network. Bill is happy to see past alumni if they need any careers advice later in life.