Last week, UKYCC’s UK Programmes Director, Isobel Tarr, took to the floor with Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, and Steve Bradley from the Green Lib Dems to discuss Green Jobs for Young People.
Ed Davey started by focusing on the job creation opportunities of the energy efficiency sector. The soon to be revived Green Deal, which will provide financial incentives for home owners and businesses to insulate their properties, will offer around 45 different energy efficiency measures that can be installed. Through offering incentives, the scheme intends to create a demand for workers to install these measures across the country. The Minister gave no exact figure for the total amount of jobs the policy aims to create – but here’s hoping that it’s more than the mere 1,000 apprenticeships that were initially pledged when the policy was in its earlier stages.
Steve Bradley went on to emphasise the need for Britain to undergo a “Green Industrial Revolution”, highlighting that much of the manufacturing infrastructure required to “go green” is not dissimilar to other manufacturing currently taking place in Britain. For example, wind turbine manufacturing technology is in fact (and some might say ironically) similar to aviation technologies.
Last but definitely not least, Isobel Tarr discussed UKYCC’s current Youth for Green Jobs Campaign. She brought the discussion back to the heart of what green jobs actually mean, especially in relation to young people. Green jobs have sustainability at their core – hence the inevitable focus on sectors such as renewable energy. But by highlighting that today there are over 1 million young people unemployed in the UK, Isobel emphasised that green jobs are also about offering long-term employment prospects for young people, providing them with skills to access those jobs and ensuring that they are paid a living-wage.
The Q&A session raised the issue about the need for education to ensure young people receive appropriate training to access green jobs. The need to address this “skill gap” is particularly crucial for new green technologies, such as forms of renewable energy.
As the talk drew to a close, the conversation focused on why we need to have this talk in the first place: climate change itself. Following the recent news that the UK’s leading piece of environmental legislation – the Climate Change Act – is coming under threat, we took this opportunity to ask the Minister about it personally. He offered little clarity as to whether aviation and shipping emissions will be included in the Act’s carbon reduction targets. But, in his own words, he assured us that, “the Climate Change Act will not be dismantled”.
It would be easy to dismiss these words with cynicism at a time when the environmental agenda seems to be slipping down the Government’s agenda. But these words, and the event overall, gave me hope that there is the political will out there to help us, as young people, gain Green Jobs and build a clean and fair future.
For more information about UKYCC’s Youth for Green Jobs campaign and how to get involved follow this link.