In this week’s blog, we celebrate Green Careers Week by highlighting how the Grid for Good employability programme is using innovative solutions to get more young people into jobs in the energy sector.
73% of young people feel uninformed of the green career opportunities they could pursue when entering the world of work, a recent survey has revealed. At Catch22, we’re aiming to change this and widen access to opportunities for young people to move into ‘green’ jobs and ensure a greener, fairer future for all.
Grid for Good is one of our flagship employability programmes and is delivered in partnership with National Grid. The programme supports young people aged 16-30, who are from low socio-economic backgrounds, into careers in the energy industry. To date, the programme has changed the lives of more than 3,000 young people.
How does Grid for Good support young people?
The programme provides specialist support and guidance to young people that are facing barriers to employment. These barriers can range from those who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law. As part of the programme, people can take part in:
- two weeks’ work experience,
- engaging insight events to inform young people about National Grid and the wider energy industry,
- peer networking and industry taster sessions as part of team building exercises,
- a 12-week career mentoring programme and a strong alumni support network for people who have been through the programme, and
- access to job opportunities – including apprenticeships and internships – within the energy industry.
What does Grid for Good do differently?
Mentoring and coaching from National Grid staff on how to access career pathways in the energy sector. The government set out an ambition to have 2 million ‘green jobs’ by 2030 and building awareness of what is a green job, and what skills people need to get there is a vital part of reaching this target. Mentoring and coaching expands opportunity and broadens horizons for young people on programme.
“The Grid for Good programme was very beneficial to me as it gave me an insight into the engineering industry. With this new experience I pursued into the sector and made a career decision with starting as a railway engineer. Currently in training and looking forward to my future. I wouldn’t have been here without the great people from the National Grid hosting the Grid for Good programme”
– Sushnitha, Grid for Good participant
Making recruitment into the energy sector more accessible for young people facing barriers to employment. In a recent survey, 29% of young people do not know of any accessible job opportunity in the green economy. The Grid for Good programme is tackling this head on, National Grid worked closely with Catch22 to transform their recruitment process specifically for Grid for Good participants:
- Candidates are put forward for roles directly with hiring managers at National Grid, instead of applying through an online portal.
- They have significantly relaxed their minimum qualification requirements, recognising that talent isn’t always demonstrated through academic attainment.
- They offer insight days for young people to take part in ahead of applying to make sure the role is right for them.
- They also now offer ‘informal interviews’ for young people that are struggling with anxiety and low confidence.
Within the first few months of launching the process, five Grid for Good candidates gained permanent entry level roles.
“National Grid listen and aren’t afraid to do things differently. This is invaluable in working with an employer partner. Their adaptations to the recruitment process has meant more young people we support have found fulfilling careers. They continue to be an example of best practice in employing and supporting young people with barriers to work.”
– Samantha Crandle, Senior Operations Manager, Catch22
Collaboration is the key to success. National Grid recognise that collaboration is the key to supporting as many young people as possible. They work with 8 charity partners to deliver the Grid for Good programme, and numerous employers and supply chain partners to find placements and employment for young people.
“Working alongside Grid for Good has been a truly rewarding experience. Their commitment to creating meaningful employment opportunities for individuals facing barriers to work is inspiring.”
– Employer Services Consultant, Charity Network
Impact in action: Willow’s story
Willow was struggling to find work and had joined her local youth group in Gloucester to build her confidence and skills. The Grid for Good team joined Willow’s local youth group to showcase the programme and opportunities available to young people in the local area. After hearing about the career opportunities available in the energy sector, Willow signed up to take part.
The team worked with her to build her confidence, coaching her on interview skills and broadening her horizons to job opportunities in the energy industry. The team also secured Willow with two days work experience at National Grid.
Willow really impressed the team at National Grid through the work experience programme and has since secured a full-time position as a Power Network Craft Assistant! Willow has championed herself to be a role model for fellow young people interested in learning more about careers in the energy sector, she recently recorded a podcast with the National Grid talking about her career journey. We can’t wait to see what she does next!