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Meet two career switchers who chose postgrad natural sciences to help the planet 

Most sectors will be impacted by climate change, so postgraduate study in natural sciences will set you up for employment in a diverse range of settings

Australia’s unique ecosystems and biodiversity face growing threats from climate change, habitat loss and urban expansion. 

In response, many organisations – from NGOs and research institutes to startups, consultancies and government agencies – are ramping up their investments in sustainability and conservation.  To deliver change, they’re actively seeking individuals with a deep understanding of these critical, future-focussed fields. 

And it’s not just science grads responding to this call – people like former visual effects artist Anu Vijayan, and tech and sustainability journalist Joel Burgess are redirecting their careers with postgrad study in natural sciences.

Anu never saw herself working in the public service, nor in health and safety. But with her Master of Conservation Biology and Master of Research from Macquarie University, she’s now putting both her science and creative skills to work.

The organisation Anu works for is the research arm of SafeWork NSW. “We conduct research to identify solutions that will prevent harm in the workplace,” Anu says.

Since studying conservation biology, Anu has also worked in education creating fun and educational science workshops for children, teaching them the importance of biodiversity and significance of nature-inspired, sustainable solutions.

Meanwhile, Joel has extensively covered the work companies are doing to reduce their environmental impact. So he saw environmental management as a growing field with a lot of opportunity.  

“Working on policy to reduce carbon emissions and the broad use of plastic is an area I’m particularly keen on exploring,” Joel says.

His advice to others considering a career switch is to try to really understand your skill set before picking a path.

“The workforce is competitive so you need to be in a field that you are interested in, but don’t forget to play to your strengths.”

You can read more about study options in postgrad natural sciences in our Postgraduate Guide, brought to you in partnership with Macquarie University.

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