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Support into work

Green jobs: ensuring a greener, fairer future for all

Close-up of solar panels.

At Catch22 we are seizing the opportunities presented by green jobs. Decarbonising our economy is the biggest emergency of our time. If we do not reach Net Zero, climate change will continue with catastrophic consequences. Net Zero commitments cannot be met without green jobs.

“The Greek root of crisis is ‘krisis’—to choose. Solving the climate crisis confronts us with a myriad of choices in redressing social and economic injustice, health disparities, and gender inequality. If we fail in our net-zero ambition, these problems will surely get worse.

“But here is a more positive outlook: the current emissions emergency is an extraordinary opportunity to address deep inequities that have persisted for generations.”

– John Doerr, Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now

Catch22’s position in the green jobs landscape is to ensure a greener, fairer future for all. Through identifying entry-level green jobs and training pathways, we can act as the conduit between people from underserved communities and the ‘good work’ provided by green jobs.

With an increase in green jobs signifying a new growth sector, we want to identify which work and training opportunities will be available to the people who we support, and the specific skills that they will need in order to succeed. We support people with social barriers into ‘good work’ across England and Wales. In considering future-focused industries where opportunities are well-paid and in demand, we have built a new employability programme focused on green jobs.

What is a green job?

In accordance with the UK Government Green Jobs Delivery Group and think tank Green Alliance, we define green jobs as “employment in an activity that directly contributes to  – or indirectly supports  – the achievement of the UK’s net zero emissions target and other environmental goals, such as nature restoration and mitigation against climate risks”. Green skills are the competencies that workers need to deliver in these areas. According to research commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA), there could be 700,000 jobs in the low-carbon and renewable energy economy, rising to over 1.2 million by 2050.

Limited entry level pathways

In researching green jobs, we have identified a stock and flow issue – there is a lack of education on green jobs, what they are and how to get them. 80% of the workforce will still be active in 2030, but they lack the skills needed for green jobs across industries including offshore wind, hydrogen capture and electric vehicles. This issue therefore not only concerns employability, but also education, careers advice, training and the wider systems that guide and support people into work.

We also found few entry-level opportunities; much of the green training and employment on offer is skilled and requires a certain level of qualifications, yet a common barrier of the people who we support at Catch22 is low educational attainment. For every technical role, for example an off-shore wind engineer, you will have an entry-level position supporting it, including a green energy customer service advisor, a young person with an as yet undiscovered interest in STEM, or an electrician who could complete training on off-shore electrical systems based on their existing skills and experience.

As we build a more detailed picture of entry-level green jobs in the UK, Catch22 is seeking to meet immediate demand. We have built a green jobs programme that will support disadvantaged people in the UK, helping them to apply for and complete existing green jobs pathways.

The Green Jobs for All Forum

At Catch22 we have also designed the Green Jobs for All Forum as a platform for transforming conversation into action. We’re bringing together job seekers, employers, think tanks, policy makers and educators to explore how green jobs can be made accessible to all. We’re hosting a series of online webinars between now and December – and we will send out an anonymous survey that will feed into a short report produced by our partner Green Alliance, outlining the entry level green jobs landscape in the UK, and barriers for those wishing to access it.

Our first forum event brought together speakers including Sam Alvis, Head of Economy at the Green Alliance, Eduardo Rodriguez Montemayor from PwC Strategy& who presented the Green Jobs Barometer and Fergus Hynd from National Grid, who talked about their Grid for Good programme. We also heard from two young Climate Action Researchers, currently working with Catch22 to explore what the barriers are to young people embarking on a career in green jobs.

There was a consensus that ‘green jobs’ encapsulates a broad range of roles, and that although many people are motivated to work in the green sector, these roles need to be made attractive. There is a clear need for more defined entry-level pathways into these jobs, and young people, and those reskilling, need to be supported to make that transition.