Future Proof Jobs: Planning For A Resilient Work Future
GREEN BUILDERS AND HOUSE RETROFITTERS
GREEN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AND INSTALLATION
GREEN PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Work prospects in the future may look quite different than today. Many fields that are heavily reliant on fossil fuels will diminish- or change. A lot of people may try to do more for themselves, and upgrade things less often. Many may also be less inclined to spend on luxuries, and inessential items and services. But there will always be certain things in demand, at least for the foreseeable future, as well as new fields expanding.
So how can you attempt to future proof your work-life? What fields might offer more stable long term opportunities and therefore be worth pursuing?
USING LOCALISATION TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
As transport costs become more prohibitive, a move to more and more localisation is inevitable. Think about things people need, especially on a regular basis. What is missing in your local neighbourhood? Could you supply that service or outlet? Can you locally produce a product and act soon to get it established in your local shops?
For more on working within your local neighbourhood, see our article 'Towards Localisation: Work Opportunities From Home'.
PERMACULTURE AND ORGANIC FARMERS/GROWERS
The huge dependency of modern mass agriculture on fossil fuels, by the machinery used, fertilisers and pesticides and transport, are looking much less sustainable in future conditions. Growing food more naturally, and in more sustainable ways using such principles as organic and permaculture methods, and on smaller, local to your customers plots, may well be the way of the future.
Growing a reasonable amount of food doesn't necessarily require a huge amount of land. You may indeed be able to start small, where you are, and gradually build up a business and expand as demand dictates.
You could also supplement this by selling your own organic, free range eggs.
Approach local greengrocers, or even small independent supermarkets, to see if you can get them to buy your produce. Become a CSA supplier, or a "pick your own" venue. Contact local sustainability groups to see if their members would like to take advantage of your local source of fresh organic food.
Another option in the permaculture field is to be a consultant for those wishing to set their property up along permaculture principles. You need to know what you are talking about, and have experience, but the demand will possibly be there for someone who is good at it, especially as more and more people start wanting to grow their own food.
You could also consider becoming a "green" landscaper, designing and implementing water-wise, chemical-use free gardens for people.
ENVIRONMENTAL FIELD WORKERS
As environmental concerns and factors become increasingly of concern, so will the need for people to research and work on the ground in these fields.
These might include all kinds of eco scientists, researchers, rangers, wildlife specialists and those who specialise in the biodiversity and ecosystem areas.
COUNSELLORS AND SOCIAL WORKERS
Hard times and change create their own need for people to counsel and guide people through them. Professionals will be needed to counsel and support people through things such as job loss, foreclosure, dealing with living with less and budgeting, personal fears and stress about the future etc.
Although one may hope that in time general health may improve- through eating a healthier less chemical ridden diet, and healthier lifestyles brought about by using our feet more than our vehicles, working more active hands-on jobs and less pollution and toxins in our environment- health workers of all kinds will still play an important part in society.
This includes mainstream professionals such as traditional doctors, nurses and therapists and also many types of alternative and natural therapy providers. Making use of what we have naturally available will become more important, as many modern drugs are reliant on petro-chemicals, so as these become more expensive, it makes sense to try to utilise natural methods where safe to do so.
Keeping ourselves healthy in the first place will also become increasingly important, so there may be openings for more work in fitness related fields, such as exercise and diet, although try to steer clear of more luxury type aspects and venues.
Traditional educators will still have a place in society for some time to come, but there will probably be growth in demand for educators in specific fields related to environmental education and transitional skills. Consider what you know- or can learn- that people might need in the changing future. Can you teach people to sew, knit, preserve food, permaculture techniques, blacksmithing, woodwork, how to build straw bale homes, how to put in a solar or wind power system etc. Hold workshops, classes or individual tuition.
There are sure to be some restless and rocky times ahead, so the need for good law enforcement people is bound to be there, especially those who can have empathy for what people are going through and can deal constructively with the problems that arise.
Emergency services could be in high demand in the future, especially if fuels are scarce and there are interruptions to all kinds of things such as power and food deliveries. There will still be people needing emergency medical care and transport, fires extinguished and emergency help with acts of nature etc. These services will probably have access to fuels when the general population doesn't, or change to sustainable fuel sources, so will be kept running where possible, even when many other things break down.
GREEN BUILDERS AND HOUSE RETROFITTERS
As designing homes to be more energy and water efficient becomes increasingly important, many opportunities will open up in "green" building, such as architects, builders who have a good knowledge of eco house concepts, people who specialise in certain types of homes such as straw bale, rammed earth and cob.
Retrofiting older houses to make them more environmentally friendly is another area.
Creating "green roofs" is also an option with some potential.
Many tradespeople will still find plenty of opportunity, such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians.
It is also quite likely there will be a resurgence of old time skills such as blacksmiths, well and dam diggers, seamstresses, hand knitters, and places such as small bakeries, cheese makers etc.
GREEN ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AND INSTALLATION
New green energy technologies are developing and being improved all the time, and there will be great opportunities for people to help research and develop these. Also, those skilled in the installation and operation of technologies such as wind and solar will be in demand.
GREEN PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Why not develop a new "green" product such as cleaners, beauty care products, water systems, energy or water saving products and systems. Or if you can't develop something of your own, be an outlet or supplier for other people's innovative ideas!
Green services may also be in demand, such as installation of water tanks and pumps, green garden services, green carpet cleaning services, green dry cleaning etc.
These are just some of the work and business opportunities that may present themselves in the future. To come up with more of your own, think about what people will need and how you can help fill that need.
Once you have decided where your interests and efforts might best be directed, the next step is to research what training you might need to undertake. Maybe volunteering or even undertaking an unpaid "apprenticeship" might be the way forward. Opportunities to gain skills, knowledge and confidence are out there... you just have to think outside the box and seek them out.
Whether you are just starting out, or an older person wondering what the future might hold for you, it's never too late to make a change for the better, one that will give you more security, benefit the planet and give u a sense of purpose, and making a difference.