Green jobs are jobs that have a focus on either reducing carbon emissions, restoring nature or making similar environmental improvements. Sustainability managers in businesses, green transport officers and thermal heating specialists are all examples of green jobs.
If we're to create a greener and fairer future for all after the pandemic, we need more green jobs. Not only will they be good for the planet, they can also help address employment inequalities across the country.
That's why we commissioned Transition Economics to look into youth unemployment, the current state of green jobs and how we can create more of them.
We're in a youth unemployment emergency.
There are over 500,000 young people aged 16-24 out of work. That number is expected to grow substantially with the end of the furlough scheme.
Early unemployment has a lasting impact. Just one year's unemployment in your late teens can result in up to £133,000 in lost earnings over the next two decades. Not to mention the effect it has on people's mental and physical health.
An emergency plan on green jobs
Instead of propping up declining, polluting industries, the government must future-proof livelihoods by investing in more green jobs.
A "green opportunity guarantee" is needed that commits to ensuring all young people are offered a job, an apprenticeship, or training.
The UK government should invest up to £10 billion over the next 5 years to create 250,000 green apprenticeships in England and Wales, with wage subsidies of 50-100% depending on need. Devolved nations should receive equivalent funding for programmes within their borders.
Alongside green apprenticeships, we’re also calling for the government to fund £40 billion annually in a green infrastructure investment programme that could create more than 1 million jobs for people of all ages, saving the NHS tens of billions of pounds and delivering other significant benefits like healthier air and warmer homes.
Not only do green jobs present a golden opportunity to reverse unemployment, they're also basic common sense. Right now, young people are being taught and given careers advice on jobs that may not even exist in 10 years' time. We're setting them up to fail where we could be training them to succeed.
Leading the way
Eishar Bassan, Graduate Support Engineer
Eishar is on a graduate scheme run by Siemens Gamesa, the renewable energy company.
"Once I'd completed my placement year and experienced full time work in a good, sustainable company, I realised I wanted to do the job I love [engineering] as ethically as possible. That's why I pursued my interest in renewable energy and sustainability."
Pete Statham, Sustainability Manager
Pete is Sustainability Manager at Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company and Carlsberg Group.
"I’m fortunate to be working in sustainability while it’s rising in prominence, and it’s an exciting place to be. It’s also a good career move with long-term prospects and the opportunity to do something that makes an impact."
Matthew Snelling, Peatland Restoration Officer
Matthew works at the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
"I really love being outdoors, and this was the main driver to wanting a green job and being involved in a job that is increasing nature in the world. I’ve learnt so many skills, from project management to technical skills – there are huge opportunities in sustainable and green jobs."
Bridie Salmon, BTEC Engineering Student
Bridie is studying for a BTEC National Level 2 Award Mechanical and Electrical Engineering through Orsted, a Danish renewable energy company.
"I spoke to people who were on apprenticeships and realised it was a good way of learning new skills and being able to get work experience and employment at the end of the course."
With thanks to...
The Friends of the Earth Green Jobs Report was produced by Transition Economics and is supported by Teach the Future, National Union of Students, Students Organising for Sustainability UK and the Trades Union Congress.
The report is also proudly supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Friends of the Earth Scotland is also campaigning on green jobs, particularly around the recovery from COVID-19. Read their 10 Steps to a Green Recovery.