THE INDUSTRY IN LONDON
London prides itself on being ranked of one of the most sustainable cities in the world, in addition to being one of the greenest with over 3,000 parks and green spaces. Sustainability and caring for people and the environment is an important focus for the city and its policies, and the government supports a range of programs which encourage environmentally, socially and economically sustainable behaviors, construction, urban planning, and innovation.
Despite a number of initiatives (such as charging vehicles which drive through central zones a “congestion charge”), high levels of air and noise pollution continue to plague the city. On the other hand, huge efforts have improved the condition of the Thames River from being declared a “biologically dead” open sewer in 1957, to now being considered the cleanest river running through a major city.
London’s commitment to long-term sustainability was showcased at the 2012 Olympics, at the time (and perhaps still today) considered the most sustainable ever. A major goal of the Olympic Committee was to ensure any investment would deliver long-term benefits the city. In contrast to the legacy of abandoned and underused Olympic venues in previous host cities, the London Olympics sought to use existing spaces in creative ways; build temporary, reusable structures; and develop special, convertible designs for any permanent structures which initially allowed for larger Olympics audiences but then reduced to a more practical size immediately after the games. The games were also an opportunity to regenerate local communities, focusing most development on the poorest London boroughs, hiring and providing training to un- and underemployed members of those communities, improving transport links to the area and finally converting the Olympic Village and Media Centre into a new residential district.
Sustainability is a core value at FIE which is embedded into all aspects of our programs, from the residences to the curriculum, earning us several awards and special recognitions. Students who are interested in sustainability will find many opportunities to explore these at FIE, including their internship. Learn more about FIE’s commitment here.
Students who choose Environment & Sustainability may be placed in any of the opportunities below. If a particular sub-area catches your eye, let us know on your MyInternship form.
Government, Non-Profit & Grassroots Organizations
London is home to many organizations which focus on environmental or sustainability concerns, from protecting wildlife, habitats, and green spaces, to influencing the behaviors of people and businesses. Some are funded by the government and tend to address local concerns, while others collect donations to support projects around the world. Placements can be office-based, with tasks including administrative, communications, fundraising and research duties. Other placements are more-hands-on, including work outdoors with plants, animals or infrastructure, or teaching children and adults about relevant issues.
Sustainable & Ethical Business
Many businesses and social enterprises – especially new companies and start-ups – are committed to not just making a profit, but also making the world a better place! Opportunities can be found across all industries and methods of incorporating sustainability and ethics into a business model are endless, but a few examples include sustainably sourcing materials for their products, creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities, helping other businesses reduce their carbon footprint or raising awareness of important issues. Tasks in these companies are similar to other business or communications placements, but with the added bonus of knowing you’re also helping make a difference.
REALITIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
A keen interest in relevant sustainable, environmental and/or ethical issues is vital for these types of placements. Any engagement with the relevant issues through academic coursework, volunteering, or work experience should be highlighted in the student’s CV and Personal Statement.
Be ready to be flexible towards tasks as you may be asked to assist in a variety of capacities.
Interns in these areas may or may not have the opportunity to get messy – in a good way! As you won’t find out your placement until after arrival in London, make sure you pack clothing which would suit both an outdoors/hands-on role and an office environment.
Placements will expect interns to share their ethical beliefs, so be sure to articulate these clearly in your internship materials, especially if you have strong opinions. However, keep in mind that laws, policies, priorities or popular opinions may be different from what you are used to, so be prepared to approach your internship with an open mind.
- Evidence of knowledge or interest in related issues, for example, previous volunteer work
- Familiarity with relevant British environmental and sustainability policy, and strong research skills to learn more about the specific area of your placement
- Flexibility and an open mind, especially towards your tasks and the mission of the organization
Relevant academic experience. Applicable majors include Biology and Life Sciences, Environmental Studies, Geography, Politics, International Relations, Community Development, Communications, Education, and Business Administration
TIPS AND TRICKS: SHOWING YOU'RE A STRONG CANDIDATE
- Highlight any relevant professional or volunteer experience on your CV
- Describe your personal commitment to or interest in relevant issues in your personal statement
- Communicate any particular areas of interest or expertise on your internship form