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Green jobs? You’ll be lucky!

According to our Prime Minister, the green industrial revolution is underway. You’d think this would mean there’d be plenty of green jobs around for budding young engineers. Unfortunately, this is not the impression you get if you take a look at most jobs boards.

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Photo by the 100% Campaign (Creative Commons).

Want a job at a fossil fuel company or a weapons manufacturer? Jobs a good’un. Want a green job where you can use your engineering skills for the good of people and planet? You’ll be lucky.

With the support of Sheffield Students’ Union’s Sustainability Committee and the University of Sheffield Careers Service, Engineers Without Borders Sheffield want to change that. To do so, we’re running our very own sustainable engineering careers fair on Wednesday 2 December.

At this fair, students will have the opportunity to challenge multinational companies on what they’re doing to work towards environmental and social justice. They will also be able to listen to presentations and network directly with employees at SMEs who are working to lessen other companies' environmental impact, design sustainable packaging solutions and build new, low-carbon infrastructure.

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Why is this important? It’s vital that engineering students are shown they can have a career working to solve the biggest problems that face humanity. It also challenges students and the university to take ethical responsibility for the impact of their work.

In the past, students may have graduated and gone on to use their skills in a long, well-paid career. This is no longer enough. If we want to reduce inequality without transgressing our planetary boundaries and causing further climate and ecological breakdown, we need to use our skills to build a fairer, greener world. We must also demand that companies do better. The ever-present focus on the bottom line, to the exclusion of all else, needs to shift to an acceptance that all companies have an ethical obligation to improve this planet and the lives of the people who live on it.

One of the most immediate ways to follow through on this demand is to refuse to work on environmentally and socially destructive projects. We hope that by showing people that sustainable, ethical jobs are an alternative to the fossil fuel and arms giants of old, we can empower the next generation of engineers to become globally responsible.

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