22 Apr Driving the next generation towards green industry jobs
As we begin to shift our attention towards a clean and green economic recovery, there are growing discussions regarding how we can future-proof our workforce and align it with the climate ambitions of the UK.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics indicate that 250,000 fewer people between the ages of 16-24 are in education, employment or training than recorded at the beginning of the pandemic. At the same time these figures were released, our government is emphasising that hundreds of thousands of jobs are necessary if we are to achieve a clean energy transition. Studies indicate that the UK requires more than 400,000 new jobs by 2050 ranging from IT tech, business and engineering, to hydrogen, electric vehicles, carbon management and energy storage.
Green industry jobs represent the core of delivering the green industry transition, implementing a successful climate action program and addressing unemployment concerns. Many industries are currently experiencing a skills gap that will inevitably have a direct impact on their ability to tackle climate change effectively.
The talent is out there but we are lacking the right resources to implement the necessary measures required to reach our climate goals. Finding the right talent and skills depends on several factors, one being the capability to enhance efforts to attract young people towards the green industry and ensure future green jobs are accessible to everyone.
Young people are essential for tackling the skills gap in the green industry. As government plans continue to progress ahead of our 2030 and 2050 climate goals, and projects such as the nationwide Green Skills Week are introduced, both businesses and government need to carefully consider their role in educating and inspiring the younger generation and encouraging them to explore a potential future in the green economy.
This includes delivering practical information on the range of opportunities and jobs available, to showing individuals the potential future they could have in the green industry. COP26 this year will offer a great chance to enhance communications and engagement as the government focuses on including the entire country in its pathway to net zero.
These measures will require the involvement of everyone, children and students across the nation need to have a clear understanding of the career prospects in the green industry to ensure they can make a fair decision on their future and understand the importance of their generation in tackling climate change.
All industries will need to collaborate on these plans and ensure a clear communication and engagement strategy is delivered. For example, the National Grid ‘Grid for Good’ programme focuses on the energy industry coming together and improving access to employment and training to disadvantaged and disconnected groups.
With further insights, opportunities for work experience and mentoring, these particular groups will be essential to raising awareness around their role in supporting sustainability and climate change agendas.
Projects like the one operated by the National Grid are especially useful for giving individuals valuable exposure to role models and help them establish a network as they continue to explore the range of green jobs available on the market. Integrated within all of this is the continued need to reach out to diverse talent, diverse minds and experiences that are critical for the UK to reach net zero.
Furthermore, businesses can work with education by launching events, competitions and workshops to engage younger people about possible markets such as hydrogen industry solutions or electric vehicle technology.
Aside from motivating students and the younger generations, measures must be inclusive and engage teachers and parents on the green jobs industry, the types of roles available and the long term benefits of joining the green industry.
Action must be taken sooner than later to drive the next generation towards green industry jobs. The sheer size and scale of solutions available to deliver on climate and sustainability goals mustn’t be underestimated. All will require a collaborative approach, inclusive of all industries and government, combining new skills and approaches from across the country.
Developing the workforce of the future capable of achieving the goals we have laid out is a responsibility that falls on all of us and a key element to this is focusing on the young talent available to help us secure a green future.