Report calls for green jobs to be more accessible and achievable

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A new report from Groundwork sets out how investment in green skills and green job creation will not only help achieve the UK’s net zero ambitions but can also be the stimulus for building pride of place and tackling long-term unemployment.

The ‘Growing Green Careers’ report makes the case for supporting more entry-level pathways into green jobs across multiple sectors – from energy generation to nature recovery – as well as embracing the notion that every job ‘has to be a green job’ if we are ever going to future-proof the economy and the environment.

The charity has put forward recommendations to sectors with the that have the opportunity to influence and inspire the necessary change needed, including central and local government and employment and education bodies, to make green jobs both a viable and vital option.

Key recommendations include:

  • Improved careers education to help young people understand the opportunities in the green economy.
  • Embedding environmental skills and knowledge as a core employability skill.
  • Creative approaches to recruitment and clarity on career progression, to attract a more diverse workforce to green careers.
  • Piloting sector-based work academies, to provide a hub for green skills development in local areas where there is a need for skilled workers in green jobs and for quality employment for local people.
  • The development of a Youth Environmental Service – a programme of funded year-long placements to help young people from more diverse backgrounds develop the skills and experience they need to develop careers in the green sector.
  • Using the opportunity of the upcoming UK Shared Prosperity Fund to develop the skills needed locally to support net zero plans and grow a more circular, community-centred economy, with targeted support for under-represented groups.

The report reflects on the fact that the environmental sector is one of the least diverse in the economy and calls on employers to diversify their workforce, both to access a wider pool of talent and also engage under-represented groups in the conversation about how to protect and improve the environment.

The report also urges both those in a position of power to harness the passion and commitment of young people when it comes tackling environmental issues, by offering training and education that tangibly leads to a worthwhile career in the green sector. In a report published by Groundwork last year, ‘Youth in a Changing Climate’ that asked young people about their green job aspirations, only 1 in 5 young people believe they are listened to when it comes to decisions on climate change and the environment, 92% felt that tackling climate change and protecting the environment is important to them personally.

Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive, said: “In the face of a climate crisis and a cost of living crisis we need to focus on those solutions that achieve a just transition to a low carbon future. Investing now in the jobs and skills we need to build a circular economy, keep fossil fuels in the ground and help nature recover will accelerate this transition while also lifting more people out of poverty.

“We also need to demonstrate that green jobs are relevant and accessible to everyone – the environmental sector is much less diverse than others, green careers guidance is lacking and young people find it difficult to get their foot on the ladder. Sustainability should sit alongside maths, English and IT as a core skill and we need more consistent, long-term policymaking to give environmental employers the confidence to grow their workforce.”

Fay Holland, Groundwork’s Policy and Research Executive and report author, said: “When we talk about green jobs, we often think of highly technical roles in science and technology. While these jobs are important, the green economy is so much broader and more diverse. From insulating homes to connecting people with nature, the roles are as varied and interesting as the people that do them. Growing the green economy can help us to level up communities by creating entry level jobs in industries that make places greener, healthier, and more resilient to climate change.”





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