As youth unemployment rises in the UK, the need for green jobs and training for young people becomes ever more essential, writes Christopher Ibbet from the UK Youth Climate Coalition…
The UK’s Office for National Statistics recently released its latest figures on unemployment, showing that in last quarter of 2011, 28,000 more people became unemployed, while the number of 16 – 24 year olds out of work rose to 1.04 million.
These sobering statistics reveal a worrying trend, and taken in combination with the recent controversy over the government’s exploitative work-to-welfare scheme, they raise serious doubts as to whether the rights of today’s young people and their aspirations for their future have ever really been on any policy agenda.
This news highlights the urgent challenges the UK government currently faces: to promote youth employment and to revitalise the economy, while mitigating the ever-increasing global threat of climate change. However, we believe that the creation of green jobs and training programmes for getting young people into sustainable, meaningful employment maps out a clear pathway to tackling all these issues simultaneously.
Green jobs have environmental sustainability at their core but they also offer long-term, stable, living wage (non-exploitative) employment. While direct green jobs are those which are closely related to the development and production of environmental technology, such as wind turbines and other hi-tech renewable energy technologies, indirect green jobs are linked to maintaining and improving environmental quality such as “greening” your existing work place.
Green jobs can provide meaningful work for a generation so affected by unemployment, who risk alienation in a society where the government refuses to protect current working conditions for young people, as well as their hopes for meaningful future employment.
The move towards a clean and just future has young people at its centre. The move to get the United Kingdom out of recession is also dependent on young people. These must equate as the same future. The opportunities and needs of our generation should be at the heart of all the policies that will shape it.
The UK Youth Climate Coalition will be campaigning on green jobs, emphasising the crucial role green job creation can play in empowering young people to be at the centre of building their cleaner, fairer future.
To see a video entitled “Whats a green job?” go here.
EWEA notes: Green jobs are indeed essential, especially in a time of crisis. The wind energy industry provided 182,000 people directly and indirectly in Europe in 2010, and this is growing year on year. EWEA’s upcoming Green Growth report, to be released at the EWEA Annual Event 2012 on 16 April, will explore the industry’s contribution to jobs and the EU economy in more detail. Pre-order your free copy now.