Graduates of the PhD programme go on to a wide variety of careers destinations. Whilst a PhD provides an academic training it also includes training and experience of a wide range of transferable skills that equip graduates to be able to enter into a wider range of careers. While some will continue into post-doctoral positions and ultimately academic careers, 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.
The Departmental Careers Advisor is Dr Bill Sheate, who is Reader in Environmental Assessment (p/t), and Deputy Director of the MSc Environmental Technology. Bill is also Technical Director (p/t) 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 (from the MSc Environmental Technology course in 1983/84) 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. A bit of reflection and focused discussion can help enormously in helping you make the most of all your skills and experience. Students can also draw inspiration from the experience of a wealth of varied alumni career paths.
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 after your PhD studies, 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.
Bill works closely with the College Careers Service and their Deputy 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.
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.
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.