As part of the West London Alliance, Stanmore College has been working with Spark, a charity with considerable experience working in partnership with educational establishments, communities and employers to support young people’s employability skills so they are better prepared to find and obtain employment.
Grace van der Velde and Matt Lent from Spark were accompanied by Alison Jessopp from Suez, a leading global provider of environmental solutions.
The introduction gave students a greater insight into green skills. Students chortled amusedly as the presenter told them that green skills did not mean being good at gardening! Rather, green skills referred to the knowledge, abilities and values that were needed to build a sustainable society. A range of new and existing skills were required to address environmental challenges in areas including science and technology, managerial skills, skilled trades and health.
Students were told that 4.4% percent of London jobs were green jobs within the energy, homes and building sectors and there were currently 234,300 green jobs in London with an estimated figure of 24million green jobs globally by the end of the current year.
The five areas of green skills being:
- Low Carbon Transport
- Green Spaces
- Circular Economy
- Green Skills
Light green skills were generic skills that businesses need for a green economy, e.g., finance, customer service and project management.
The students participated in collaborative activities to help build their confidence and team working skills. They researched different green careers and decided which ones interested them.
Matt explained that technical and employability skills would help anyone to get closer to their desired career goals and the art/architecture, business, engineering and science students were encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zone as, by doing so, they could achieve more than they realised.
Alison Jessopp, HR Manager for Suez environment which employs more than 5,000 people in the UK spoke of pioneering sustainable solutions and innovative technologies to reduce their carbon footprints and protect the environment.
The students heard how all new cars and vans would have to be Net Zero by 2035 to reduce greenhouse gases and the U.K. aims to be the fastest G7 nation to decarbonise vehicles. 16% of greenhouse emissions in 2020 (UK) primarily came from the residential sector, the natural gas for heating and cooking. 24% of emissions that same year (UK) came from transport, petrol and diesel.
A conversation ensued about the employability skills that employers want, which include:
- Creative problem solving
- Interpersonal skills
As the event drew to a close, the 16–18-year-olds were informed of an opportunity to attend an insight day at a green skills employers’ premises to gain first-hand experience of some of the jobs in increasing demand. Opportunities like this were invaluable both from an experience point of view but also to open doors to possible apprenticeships, part-time work or employment after college. Several students were keen to sign up to attend. They were also informed of a Green Skills Job Fair taking place at Stanmore College later in the term.
Matt concluded by inviting the students to give themselves a round of applause for their involvement and contribution to the workshop after which staff and students expressed appreciation to Matt, Grace and Alison for taking the time to share their valuable knowledge and information on how students can move forward towards new and exciting careers and about the opportunities available.