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New year, new (green) career?


In October 2023, the Green Jobs Foundation published its annual State of the Nation report, highlighting both an increase in green jobs available and a growing skills gap preventing these posts from being filled. As we enter the New Year, we wanted to take a look at the importance of training and education to ensure more of these positions are filled.

There are many people across the UK, whose livelihoods had until recently been wholly reliant on polluting industries. With the necessary shift away from these industries, there is a parallel need, to ensure that these workers are not left behind.  

As with so many aspects of the green transition, solutions already exist, and the challenge now is to roll these out in more places, helping more people to get involved. Carbon Copy’s national collection of climate action stories, features many inspiring examples of businesses, charities, educational institutions and councils running programmes and providing opportunities to enable more people to start or change to a more sustainable career.

In North East England, the Humber Energy Skills Training Academy, delivered by North Lindsey College in Scunthorpe, is turning school leavers into the “green engineers” of the future. With a range of apprenticeships and diplomas, students are learning about the clean technologies likely to have the biggest impact on decarbonisation.  

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, in Northern Ireland, has prioritised supporting the development of the green hydrogen economy and has teamed up with local industry and academia, to develop a number of initiatives including the Hydrogen Training Academy.  This collaborative project is delivered by a partnership of Further and Higher Education institutions, including Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast Metropolitan College and the Northern Regional College.

In Wales, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) runs a variety of academic and practical courses for people looking to upskill in sustainable industries. From short courses on off-grid living, to Postgraduate degrees covering architecture, renewable energy and behaviour change, there are lots of different options to support learners into green careers. 

The Shetland Isles in Scotland are being transformed through ORION Clean Energy – helping a workforce which has historically been centred around oil and gas extraction, to move to new roles in renewables.

We spoke to Joanna Bonnett, Chief Executive of the Green Jobs Foundation about the State of the Nation report:

“Our research shows that not only are green jobs necessary for the country, in order to meet our net zero targets, but that they actually pay higher than the regional average in every part of the UK –  particularly in those areas like Scotland and the North East that have traditionally been hubs for polluting fossil fuel industries. What this means is that jobseekers and career changers alike can see huge benefits from pivoting into a more environmentally sustainable role, and that the demand for good quality education and training in these industries has never been higher.”

Discover more examples of green jobs-boosting initiatives in our national collection, here.

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