From education to employment

More than half of young people given no guidance on green job options at school

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A new survey of young people has revealed that more than half (57%) have not been given guidance on green job options at school.

The research carried out by social mobility charity Speakers for School saw 1,200 state school students aged 15-18 canvassed for their knowledge and appetite for pursuing a green job. It found that 63% of young people said they know what a green job is but over half (56%) aren’t sure about the required skills and qualifications to get one.

The charity is calling for more comprehensive careers education that details future labour market information and provides young people with tangible examples of jobs they can pursue, with relevant work experience opportunities.

The research also reveals how an employer’s sustainability credentials would influence the job searches of young people, with 85% of respondents stating they care about an organisation’s carbon footprint and over a third (36%) planning to research an organisation’s green credentials before applying for a job.

The survey is published as the charity kickstarts Green Skills Week, its annual campaign running on week commencing 25th April, connecting just shy of 30 employers who offer green jobs to students at 4,000 state schools across the country, to educate young people in accessing green jobs. 

Jason Elsom, CEO of Speakers for Schools, said:

“We welcome the Government’s climate change strategy for schools which should overhaul the current curriculum and provide young people with invaluable knowledge about the natural world and how to reverse climate change. However, we would argue more work is required to improve careers education. Our research reveals that there currently isn’t the necessary infrastructure to help young people access jobs in the green economy and simply understand what they are. Currently, there is a lack of information about what job opportunities are and will become available as the green economy grows. This is critical to complement the strategy and make it a working reality so that young people can become agents of change that protect our planet.

“If we are serious about meeting our climate ambitions, we must equip young people with the appropriate skills and experience to pursue the new and emerging jobs that will help us get there, while instilling the mindset that any career can have a positive influence on the environment.

“We urge employers offering green jobs to engage with schools in their local communities and beyond to ensure they are reaching future talent and equipping the next generation with green skills. It is why we created Green Skills Week, an initiative that directly connects almost 5,000 students with companies offering green jobs, alongside a range of talks with sustainability leaders to provide careers advice and inspiration.”

The campaign will see 5,000 work placements take place with leading companies like SSE, Fat Face and Bentley Motors, to learn about green careers. The types of jobs young people will be introduced to include:

  • Wind turbine engineer with SSE
  • Sustainable product development with Fat Face
  • Green accountancy and law with The Biorenewables Development Centre

Meanwhile, 44 influential leaders in sustainability will be conducting inspirational career talks to give students advice and guidance. The list includes Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers for Sewege and Dame Mary Archer, one of the country’s leading solar energy experts.

If you are a school, college or university and would like to be a part of Green Skills Week 2021 please contact us at:

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