Green and clean sectors could create 15,000 jobs for next generation

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

Ambitious job creation targets in the green and clean sector could transform prospects for young people, according to new research.

The report also recommended that employers must look at flexible working and evidenced based training.

The new report, “A Better Future: Transforming jobs and skills for young people post-pandemic”, said that regional disparities coupled with a diminishing youth labour market and an unequal recovery could result in young people being ill-equipped or prepared to meet the future demands of the workforce, worsening the skills shortages employers are currently facing.

Th research commissioned by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on behalf of Youth Futures Foundation and the Blagrave Trust, has warned of generational progress coming to a standstill in the UK, with the wage gap between older and younger workers widening since the 2008 financial crisis. Youth employment has also fallen by a quarter of a million since the start of the pandemic.

The research found that young people are over-represented in sectors that are expected to see lower employment growth in the long term, and vital ‘stepping stone’ mid-skill jobs are declining, with more young people in insecure or part time work.

However, the researchers identified that the shift to green jobs through government investment in its Levelling Up and Net Zero strategies could create an additional 130,000 jobs for young people, many in the declining, yet crucial, mid-skill job spectrum.

Anna Smee, CEO, Youth Futures Foundation, said: “Young people from marginalised backgrounds should be able to secure good quality jobs in their local area, wherever they live. Targeted investment into Levelling Up and Net Zero jobs, coupled with access to flexible working and the adoption of evidence-based approaches to training, recruitment and retention, could make this a reality for the next generation.”

The report identified that there are opportunities for young people to transition from existing jobs to green roles but also warned that large numbers of young people staying on in education and fewer jobs available for them each year, meant that skills provision must be more closely matched with local labour market need, with local areas given more powers to design and shape local provision.

The report also laid out eight key recommendations for government to future proof young people’s jobs and skills:

  • Government should aim to create new ‘green and clean’ job opportunities for young people through its ‘Levelling Up’ and ‘Net Zero Transition’ investments

  • Government and its partners should use these investments to massively scale up apprenticeships and establish skills pipelines for disadvantaged young people

  • Government should extend and reform Kickstart, with a new ‘Kickstart Plus’ creating opportunities for long-term unemployed and disadvantaged young people to get into work

  • A meaningful ‘Opportunity Guarantee’ should be put in place to ensure that no young person reaches long-term unemployment

  • Government should establish new local youth employment and skills boards as part of the new Levelling Up strategy

  • Introduce a commitment to new trailblazers of ‘Universal Youth Support’ to test more extensive devolution and integration

  • Introduce new labour market regulations to raise job quality by publishing the postponed Employment Bill

  • Promote new forms of non-work income to bolster security for young people, for example through lifelong learning accounts or a Citizen’s Wealth Fund