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Blogs & Vlogs

I want to save the planet....

I recently recruited a Responsible Sourcing & Fisheries Manager for a client of mine. Brilliant title for a job and this brilliant candidate applied, blew my client away at the final interview and was offered the job. She starts a week on Monday, and I have no doubt that she’ll be amazing. But recruiting a role such as this, opened my eyes to a whole new world of university degrees and graduates. One candidate in particular stood out, or rather the conversation that we had stood out, for all the right reasons. When I asked why he chose a degree in Marine Biology he said he wanted to help save the planet as the previous generations had done so much damage. And he didn’t want a job that was corporate in a large organisation in a city, he wanted a job where he could make a difference to the future of the world. Wow. How times have changed.

I cast my mind back to when I was choosing my degree, I have no problem saying I went through clearing and I went to Bradford for a couple of reasons. I started alphabetically and they were the first place that said yes to me. (thank goodness I didn’t go to Staffordshire as with Bradford, I was in the pub celebrating a lot sooner!) And being a Yorkshire lass, I was happy to study in Yorkshire. Off I went, had a blast and when I graduated, I wanted to work in a city, have a great social life, meet new & exciting people, and experience what life had to offer. The job I did? Well I didn’t really mind but I knew it would office based having gained a Business Degree and within 2 years of moving to London, I was working for Anderson Consulting, now Accenture. It doesn’t get much more corporate than that! As for the planet, I think I can speak on behalf of a lot of people of my generation (and all my uni friends) when I say, we didn’t give it a second thought. Not because we didn’t care about it, it just wasn’t a topic that was discussed. We didn’t know what damage was being done, we didn’t have mobile phones let alone smartphones that kept us up to date 24/7 with what was happening in the world, we didn’t even have an email account! Life was relatively simple and stress free. And as I got chatting to the candidate who wanted to save the planet and explained my career choice, from my simplistic point of view, he was fascinated by it. And yes, there was a huge generation gap, and yes, I suddenly felt like I’d aged another 20 years!

And as the huge amount of CV’s poured in for this one role that I was recruiting, I started to realise that there are a huge amount of degrees out there which are all about the environment, the ocean, sustainability, but what do these degrees lead to? Are the degrees so specific that when it comes to graduating, are there enough jobs out there? Because I’ve never had such a great response to an advert. And I spoke to some really strong candidates and I sent over more CV’s than I normally would. What becomes of the candidates who continue to search for a job in this field? Some hadn’t worked in the industry they want to since they graduated a few years ago and are doing admin jobs. Some are about to graduate so have the boundless enthusiasm for what lies ahead. But going to university takes not only a huge amount of commitment and study, but a huge amount of financial investment now. Far more than I ever accumulated. My debt was paid off every summer working in a pea factory. I took home around £300 a week for 7 days a week, 8 hours a day for about 8 weeks. And I worked 3 nights a week in the local pub when I was at university, and with recently divorced parents, there was no handouts. Today the investment from parents and students financially is mega. I just hope to goodness this investment is rewarded in every way possible.

Talking to a friend a few weeks ago who works with Universities and large companies to understand the trends with Graduates, we discussed the Graduates passion for saving the planet. He talked about how they passionately care about charity work and genuinely making a difference to the world that we live in, this has increased enormously over recent years. But he threw the challenge back at me…”you work in the food industry, can you solve the problem with all the excess packaging?” Sadly, my answer was no, not with the job I do. But as a consumer, we can all chip away and make changes, however small or large they are. And in the last week I have switched to reusable cotton pads for my makeup. I have to say it’s revolting as I stash the dirty pads for 2 weeks before I wash them all. And I’m not sure if I’ll stick to it but I’m willing to give it a go which is some commitment if you’ve seen the amount of mascara and eyeliner I wear! But I carry a large water bottle with me at all times and ask for refills, I don’t drink tea or coffee so I’ve never contributed to that mountain of cups but as I look at the amount of packaging that is in my fridge just in the salad drawer, most of which isn’t recyclable, I may not have given the planet one single thought back in the late 1990’s, but I do pretty much every day now. Just maybe in a more subtle way than the next generation coming through. But my god do I have so much respect for them. As given the same choice again, I think a part of me would still pick working, partying and having a blast in London after graduating over saving the planet. It’s a good job it takes all sorts to make this planet turn and maybe together, we’ll find a way to make it a sustainable planet after all.


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