Comments from Georgina Johnson, Programme Manager at Ahead Partnership
As world leaders meet for COP28 in the coming weeks, the focus is on decarbonisation on a global scale. But many of the conversations focus on the need to upskill current workforces to meet global green skills demands. Although important, this seems to miss out the opportunity to engage the future workforce, today’s young people, at a local level on issues that are important to them and salient in their communities.
Ahead Partnership has been encouraging engagement with the decarbonisation and green agenda among young people for a number of years. Two years ago during COP26, I ran a youth engagement event at Yorkshire Housing which brought together business volunteers from a range of employers to answer young people’s questions about green jobs and green skills. The event highlighted different perspectives on what the West Yorkshire region would require in order to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets, and showcased young people’s enthusiasm to be part of the solution when it comes to decarbonisation. (You can watch the video from the event here.)
Since then, Leeds has demonstrated its commitment to decarbonisation, having been named one of 122 global cities leading the way on climate action. The appetite for green skills and green jobs in Leeds, West Yorkshire and beyond is growing, and young people should be a key part of the strategy to encourage widespread uptake of green skills. We have certainly seen this with the increased interest in our green skills activities for programmes and projects across sectors. Things like carbon literacy are becoming ever more important, not just in sectors such as retail, built environment, and transport, but also across professional services including law and finance. We’ve been delighted to have Net Zero Ambassador volunteers join us at events to bring to life the need for green skills in all businesses, and to show young people that no matter what career they choose, they can make a difference to climate change in their role.