By Niamh James
The UK government’s Ten Point Plan pledges to create 250,000 new green jobs by 2030, how might this be achieved?
A couple of weeks ago OnePlanet attended one of Ashden’s ‘After Work’ events on how we might achieve a green jobs revolution. Ashden is a charity that works with organisations to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world. At the event, we learned about the work of the New Economics Foundation, Shared Intelligence and Voyage Youth.
The demand for green skills is enormous if we are to transition to a green economy. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) say that 9 in 10 employees across the UK economy need reskilling by 2030. It is essential this reskilling supports a green revolution. However, the New Economics Foundation, which describes itself as a ‘think-and-do tank’, told us that 45% of people are having difficulties accessing opportunities to upskill because they cannot afford the courses or do not have the capacity to study.
To achieve a fair transition to a green economy, representation within sectors delivering green jobs needs to be addressed. Shared Intelligence, a public policy consultancy, highlighted that people from minority groups make up only 3.5% of the environment sector due to significant barriers accessing green jobs.
Voyage Youth, a social justice charity working with marginalised young people, expanded on this and pointed out some of the barriers people of colour (POC) face. This includes a lack of guidance and support in schools to green job pathways as well as environmental organisations not knowing the right recruitment circles for employing POC.
To unlock the opportunities to a green revolution, the structural barriers to upskilling and retraining need dismantling. The New Economics Foundation say that the government needs an ambitious plan for retraining and levelling up. Their new Future Skills Scheme is aiming to upskill and reskill members of the UK workforce to improve resilience and move away from high-carbon industries.
Shared Intelligence made a number of recommendations on where local government can impact green jobs and skills. This included increasing green job opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds as well as strengthening skills and knowledge across the council so that all departments can work towards supporting green jobs and skills.
Increasing representation within the environmental sector is vital if we are to have a holistic and just transition to a green economy. Voyage Youth suggests the government needs to invest more in supporting diverse youth organisations. Companies and organisations also need to create employability schemes, paid work experience and scholarships specifically for young POC.
The Net Zero Navigator and ‘co-benefits’
At OnePlanet, we believe that understanding co-benefits in policymaking is essential to delivering climate action. A green economy that is low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive not only reduces the effects of climate change but also has multiple benefits in job creation and improving our economy.
Read our top five climate actions that support job co-benefits here.
We are looking to work with forward-thinking local governments that want to take innovative action to tackle climate change whilst simultaneously delivering positive Outcomes across the council. Our Leadership Cohort brings together local governments to kick start the implementation of their climate strategies around co-benefits. Take a look here.