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Blog 12 November 2021

Think global, act local: how we’re supporting people into greener jobs

By Iquo Edem and Asi Panditharatna
AS COP26 draws to a close, Iquo and Asi of Forward's Employment Services Division share how our green sector jobs and training pathway is supporting a 'green' recovery from Covid-19.

During COP26, world leaders have made many positive pledges. The Global Methane Pledge, for example, sets out to limit methane emissions by 30% compared with 2020 levels. Meanwhile, 110 leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, with a pledge of £14bn of public and private funds.

Delivering on these pledges will require the active involvement of local communities, voluntary and community organisations, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and others at both a regional and local level. The slogan, `Think Global, Act Local’ is as important today as ever before.

Get Greener, Get Digital, Get a Job

In August 2021, we started delivering our new Adult Education Budget Green Recovery Training and Jobs Pathway in London called Get Greener, Get Digital, Get a Job. This exciting programme, funded by the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority as part of their Good Work for All scheme, has a focus on having a ‘green’ recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, which involves supporting people into environmentally-friendly and focused jobs and careers.

Get Greener, Get Digital, and Get a Job targets unemployed adults living in London who want to undertake vocational training to help towards a future career, job or apprenticeship in the green sector. We deliver Level 2 qualifications, including the NCFE ‘Understanding Climate Change and Environmental Awareness’, which includes digital skills training along with regular information, advice and guidance (IAG), masterclasses from employers and guaranteed job interviews with our growing number of partners whom are committed to the green and sustainability agenda.

Get Greener, Get Digital, Get a Job is a pathway for those who may, at a later stage, choose to progress or specialise in the green sector. Our programme highlights the importance of Level 2 courses for people who are not quite ready for apprenticeships, T qualifications or bootcamps, which are often at a higher level.

In its Sustainability and Climate Draft Strategy, The Department for Education has highlighted that it will support the further and higher education sector to deliver programmes that develop solutions to the climate crisis.

Green jobs for the future

As presidents of COP26, a key priority for the UK will be creating the green jobs of the future. The Mayor of London has stated that central to building a net zero carbon economy will be increasing development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy-efficient retrofitting for buildings, low-carbon heating technology, solar PV installation, conservation work, and sustainability roles across a wide range of sectors.

In our approach to Get Greener, Get Digital and Get a Job, we offer a broad understanding of ‘green jobs’, which encompasses the construction and hospitality sectors, two critical areas for tackling problems such as food waste and plastic, as well as vital support roles across the board including in customer service, sales and business development.

Learner insights

Our learners on the Get Greener, Get Digital, Get a Job have enjoyed the opportunity to develop their understanding of climate and the environment and change how they have an impact through their carbon footprint.

One of our learners had this to say:

“Prior to joining the course, I thought this was all about recycling, but it isn’t – it’s so much more and has helped me understand better what is happening in Glasgow this week”

Green sector pathway learner

Through discussions and debates in the classroom, learners have started to make their own pledges. For example, some have resolved to start buying products at zero waste refill shops or use public transport more. Learners have also been sharing online tools about how to calculate their carbon footprint and offset it where possible. The development of digital skills on the programme has raised people’s confidence to go and use these tools and share what they are doing on social media with their friends and family members.

Learners now understand better the wide range of careers in the green sector and the kinds of careers information and resources available.

“Sustainability jobs are very exciting and provide transferable skills that apply to so many sectors. This has helped me to think differently and more widely about the types of careers I might want to pursue. The career talks and guaranteed job interviews have also helped me focus my job search”

Green sector pathway learner

The Forward Trust’s Employment Services Directorate delivers the Get Greener, Get Digital, Get a Job Adult Education Budget programme funded by the Mayor of London. Find out more.

Iquo Edem is a qualified trainer and tutor and delivers the Adult Education Budget programme within Forward’s Employment Services Directorate.

Asi Panditharatna is the Executive Director of Employment Services at The Forward Trust, member of the Institute of Employability Professionals and has worked in the employability and skills sector for more than 20 years.