Green Careers Week (GCW) is fast approaching, from 6th to 11th November 2023. The Green Careers Week initiative was launched last year in the UK and continues this year as part of the National Careers Week in partnership with STEM Organization UK and the UK Space Agency to supercharge the interest of young people in green jobs and develop an awareness of future pathways.
Planting the seeds of change: youth in the green workforce
According to a 2021 study by Bath University (speaking to 10,000 young adults across 10 countries, including the UK), two-thirds of the 16-25-year-olds surveyed were worried about climate change, and three-quarters felt the future was frightening. Almost half said how they feel about climate change adversely affects their daily lives (GCW, 2023).
Further, a recent survey in 2023 finds that the majority of current UK students feel uninformed about the green jobs available to them to lead the change, bringing sharply into focus the Government's pledge to create two million green jobs by 2030. These findings underscore how young people experience climate anxiety differently and emphasize the need to guide the next generation of changemakers to find career pathways to help them find solutions to this existential threat, restoring their confidence in a positive and sustainable future.
What are green jobs? And why are they important?
Green jobs help promote and restore ecosystems and biodiversity, improve well-being, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, materials, and resource consumption, and minimize or avoid the generation of waste and pollution while aiming to provide fair wages, safe working conditions, and stable employment. Every job has the potential to become green as the world moves to combat climate change; there is a vast range of skills that can support the transition to a net zero economy. Green jobs are found in various sectors like construction, transportation, energy, waste management, healthcare, and other emerging industries to produce the goods and services needed for the green economy. Likewise, they could support the evolving green sectors in supply chains, finance, education, and other functions.
Green jobs are crucial drivers for change in how we live and interact with our environment. We are in a climate emergency. We have until 2030 to halve our GHG emissions to stand a chance of stabilizing our global climate change to 1.5 degrees and achieving net zero by 2050. There's enormous potential for green growth. Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests that more than 200,000 jobs could be created in energy efficiency by 2030 and 70,000 jobs in offshore wind to set the direction for the job market as we transition to a high-skill, low-carbon economy.
The ILO estimates the greening of the global economy will create 24 million jobs in sectors such as renewables, electrical machinery, and manufacturing. The renewable energy sector is a major global employer. According to a 2022 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, there are 12.7 million jobs in renewables; more jobs will be created in eco-building, circular economy, urban farming, and sustainability consultancy. These green jobs accelerate the move away from fossil fuels to achieve climate goals.
What happens in the Green Careers Week?
It is a week's celebration of green careers in which students, parents, teachers, and educators can participate by downloading materials, videos, and guidance to get students thinking about green careers in the appropriate webpage for the fair: Green Careers Week 2023. Schools will invite speakers from various backgrounds to share their experiences on the green transformation in the job market and the skills and education needed for these jobs, ensuring that all young people can access inspirational opportunities and experiences to fuel their ambitions. Employers will also receive guidance on engaging students and providing opportunities for work experience, internships, and future careers aligned with net zero goals.
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Week, G.C. (2023) GCW 2023. Available at: https://www.theparentsguideto.co.uk/.
https://www.engineeringuk.com/news-views/uk-students-feel-uninformed-about-availability-of-green-jobs/ (The survey students are uninformed about green jobs)
https://www.theguardian.com/guardian-green-jobs/2020/oct/19/what-are-green-jobs-and-why-are-they-important (statistics on number of jobs)
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