Report: Apprenticeships can unlock green careers for Gen Z

New research has revealed that careers advisers and social media influencers could play a key role in steering young minds towards green apprenticeships, underscoring that the tools to achieving the UK's net-zero goals rests in the hands of Generation Z (Gen Z).

Report: Apprenticeships can unlock green careers for Gen Z

This is based on a report published by the MCS Foundation, a net-zero charity, unveiling a contrast between environmental concern and career choices among youth while highlighting the need for greater consideration of careers with an environmental impact.

While 15% of the Gen Z respondents consider benefiting the environment as a significant factor in their career choices, 60% would prioritise a job that they both enjoyed and that offered a competitive salary, according to the report.

Nevertheless, the study suggests apprenticeships as a potential solution for the skills gap, with 57% of respondents showing increased interest in renewable energy jobs when presented with the option to pursue apprenticeships, allowing them to both earn and learn concurrently.

Furthermore, the report highlights that 55% of surveyed young people would be more likely to consider a renewable energy job if there was more information available within their educational institutions.

MCS Foundation’s research and campaigns manager Richard Hauxwell-Baldwin said: “For young people who want to do their bit for the environment but don’t see a ‘green job’ as an option, apprenticeships could open doors in a big way.

“We need to move beyond a system where university is seen as the only path for aspirational school leavers and demonstrate that apprenticeships can provide job and learning opportunities for young people that are enjoyable, earn good money, and deliver on their environmental values.”

UK’s stagnated progress on green job growth

In 2020, the UK government launched a Green Jobs Taskforce to ensure that it meets its 2030 commitment of having two million adults in the UK employed in “green-collar” jobs.

Three years later, the CCC still warns the Government that “a hands-off approach to the net-zero workforce from Government will not work.”

Research from the CCC demonstrates that the net-zero transition can deliver between 135,000 and 725,000 net new jobs in low-carbon sectors such as buildings retrofit, renewable energy generation and electric vehicles (EVs).

Nevertheless, despite the Government’s pushback on its net-zero commitments for a ‘timely’ and ‘pragmatic’ approach, the demand for green jobs such as sustainability management, engineering and consulting has increased by 667% in the last four years.

The MCS Foundation proposes apprenticeships as a possible solution to fulfil this demand surge.

It suggests promoting apprenticeships through channels where young people commonly seek information about their career paths. This encompasses advice from schools, colleges, and universities, as well as leveraging social media.

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