If you want to make the world a better place, here are five jobs where you can make a difference.
1. Social worker
Social workers help support and protect some of the most vulnerable and deprived people in society (nine out of 10 British users of social work services are claimants of social security), and may specialise in working with adults or children.
The majority of social workers are employed by local authorities, many of which report recruitment shortfalls. Qualified social workers may also find opportunities in other settings, such as charities, NHS trusts, private care homes, prisons and social work agencies, and in other specialist roles, such as drug addiction support.
Qualifications required: An honours or postgraduate degree in social work is a must-have. Desirable personal characteristics include patience, flexibility and the ability to stay calm under pressure and deal with challenging and sometimes aggressive or violent behaviour.
Salary: Social workers can expect to earn between £25k and £37k – with bigger salaries paid to those with more experience and responsibility.
2. Charity administrator
Working for a good cause rather than a commercial organisation can give some people the feelgood factor they’re looking for from a job – and the good news is that charitable organisations require paid staff with a wide variety of skills.
At a smaller charity you might have very broad administrative responsibilities, while bigger ones are likely to require more specialisation into tasks such as accounting, marketing, information technology, project management and fundraising.
As well as traditional charities, the sector also now includes other non-profit organisations such as housing associations, trade unions and educational institutions.
Qualifications required: This depends entirely on the type of role sought and the size of the charity or organisation concerned. As a rule, bigger organisations will have more formal hiring criteria – although a track record of relevant voluntary involvement is likely to help in any situation.
Salary: Starter jobs might pay £16k to £25k, with specialist posts offering £20k to £32k. The most senior roles can pay £65k or more.
3. Occupational therapist
Occupational therapists make a real difference to people’s lives, helping those with mental, physical or social disabilities learn to carry out everyday tasks and get the most out of life.
Therapists work with patients to assess their needs and suggest techniques or special equipment to assist with the tasks required, or to facilitate rehabilitation towards independence following injury or disability. They also advise and guide patients on controlling their own challenging behaviour if required.
A treatment plan will be prepared for each patient and OTs will also work closely with other medical professionals to determine and deliver the best outcome for each individual.
Qualifications required: A degree or post-graduate qualification in occupational therapy is a pre-requisite for the field, with studies covering behavioural and biological aspects along with suitable interventions.
Salary: First jobbers in the NHS usually start at Band 5 (£21,176-£27,625), moving up to Band 6 (£25,528-£34,189) if they specialise – with more advanced professionals reaching Band 7 (£30,460-£40,157).
4. Conservation officer
Nature conservation officers work to protect specific local environments, often balancing public access and use with the task of preservation or restoration.
Roles are usually found in local authorities, national bodies, charities, utility companies and commercial consultancies – with sustainable development being a major concern in the more business-orientated roles.
As well as carrying out surveys and implementing physical work plans, conservationists may also develop and implement policies and work with the public – such as schoolchildren if working at a nature reserve for example.
Qualifications required: A degree is usually a pre-requisite, with postgraduate qualifications also reasonably common. Earth sciences, ecology, geography, land management and biology are all possible areas of study. In a very competitive field, candidates often take on voluntary roles to build contacts and experience.
Salary: Starting salaries might range from £16k to £18k, while those with 10 years’ experience might expect to earn £20k to £30k and managers can be paid £30k-plus.
5. Renewable energy engineer
Energy engineers determine the most efficient and cleanest ways of providing energy for consumer or business users – and those specialising in renewable or sustainable energy are likely to be looking at solar, hydro, wind or biofuel-derived power.
Engineers might design and test new machinery, refine and improve existing means of power generation, check and maintain power generation schemes and assess the environmental impact of their work.
Jobs can be found within utility companies, large manufacturers, government departments and in research departments in academia or industry.
Qualifications required: A degree in a science or engineering subject is the usual route into working as an energy engineer, with specialist qualifications now available in subjects including sustainable energy and climate science.
Salary: This can be a well-paid area, with starting salaries ranging from £20k to £30k and £35k-plus available with some experience. Salaries of up to £80k are paid to more senior staff.
All salary data is taken from the National Careers Service website.
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