EXPANSION AND PROFESSIONALISATION OF THE EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENTAL EMPLOYMENT SECTOR 1
Over the past five to ten years increasing interest in the environment has led to more people seeking careers in the environment sector. Coupled with this interest has been a revolutionary change in the perception of ‘environmental jobs’ and the nature and status of such jobs. This change is in part explained by the realisation by governments that ‘a healthy economy is dependent on a healthy environment’ (M. Thatcher, former UK Prime Minister, in a speech to the Royal Society, September 1988).
Consequently the demand for expert advice and assistance to both business and industry and local and central government in environmental policy formulation, environmental management and conservation has rapidly grown. In addition, industry-specific environmental skills and knowledge are increasingly required in existing professional, industry and business skill areas. The further application of statutory regulations as well as voluntary codes of practice to both the public and private sectors, in areas such as pollution control and sustainable resource management, has meant that personnel with the appropriate environmental skills are needed to find practical work-based solutions to such measures.
In addition to the new legislative requirements, the commercial logic of ‘going green’ has also been more widely recognised. This can result in lower costs from increased energy efficiency, recycling initiatives and careful purchasing policies. Investment in state-of-the-art environmental technology and sound management practices also results in tangible efficiency and cost benefits, as well as providing image-improving positive publicity.
Career opportunities have expanded as a result of the increased importance and relevance of environmental issues to all sectors of economic activity. In