The green skills gap in early careers is the challenge of our generation. William Akerman at Connectr explains how it could be the opportunity of a generation for social mobility.
The UK economy needs an injection of green skills and expertise into the workforce in order to remain competitive on the journey to net zero.
We know there’s demand, with green jobs now representing over 30% of UK job postings on LinkedIn, but there isn’t enough talent that has green skills to match up.
That gap won’t be filled from reskilling companies’ existing workforces alone. Early careers are a vital pathway to get the right skills into your organisation, to set your company up for success.
Students care about sustainability
The good news is that there is a huge amount of passion for sustainability amongst young people and a desire to work for an organisation that aligns with that: 72% of students want to work for an employer that has a positive impact on sustainability.
So, the role of employers is to harness that enthusiasm, by getting in front of students and translating that passion into tangible career pathways and next steps.
One of the challenges is that a green job varies so much from sector to sector, and even from employer to employer – and roles are evolving and being created at such a rapid pace.
Coupled with the huge pressures on teachers at the moment – from crumbling infrastructure to ever-increasing pastoral care for students – it means that we can’t expect teachers and careers leaders to be able to lead this communication for us.
Employers must drive the charge and get in front of students directly.
Go from being unprepared for the green transition, to leveraging it for positive social impact
Where there is a big change in the jobs market, especially early careers, there’s a risk of diverse groups getting left behind.
However, if rolled out considerately, once-in-a-generation workforce changes like the transition to net zero, also provide an opportunity to power up diverse talent groups, and give them the skills to stand out and get ahead.
Connectr, government and the employers we talk to are determined that green-collar jobs mean good quality jobs, which we can support diverse groups into and set them up for stable careers. This forms the founding principles of our Green Skills Workforce Coalition.
In this moment, early careers leaders have a choice: let diverse talent fall behind, or boost them up and use the green skills revolution as an opportunity to level the playing field.
Connectr is working with a number of forward-thinking employers to do just this, by building up partnerships between employers and their local secondary schools and colleges, to engage students and teachers around green roles and ultimately provide pathways into employment.
From smaller programmes that sponsor a targeted, individual school, to much more large-scale projects like National Grid’s with an ambition to reach 100,000 students across five years. Collectively we can shift the dial.
See you at the ISE EDI conference
We’re thrilled to be presenting our Green Skills session with our employer partners National Grid. We’re three years into a five-year programme, supporting schools in the local communities to the London Power Tunnels project, with a focus on underrepresented talent.
We’ll share learnings from setting up a partner schools programme to help students to better understand net zero and pathways into the sector – and into roles at National Grid.
Find out more and register for ISE’s EDI Conference, taking place on 7 November 2023.
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