What's a green job and how can we create more of them?

Green jobs are jobs that have a focus on either reducing carbon emissions, restoring nature or making similar environmental improvements. Sustainability managers in businesses, green transport officers and thermal heating specialists are all examples of green jobs.

If we're to create a greener and fairer future for all after the pandemic, we need more green jobs. Not only will they be good for the planet, they can also help address employment inequalities across the country.

That's why we commissioned Transition Economics to look into youth unemployment, the current state of green jobs and how we can create more of them.

Youth unemployment

We're in a youth unemployment emergency.

There are over 500,000 young people aged 16-24 out of work. That number is expected to grow substantially with the end of the furlough scheme.

Early unemployment has a lasting impact. Just one year's unemployment in your late teens can result in up to £133,000 in lost earnings over the next two decades. Not to mention the effect it has on people's mental and physical health.

Image of a job centre, February 2021

An emergency plan on green jobs

Instead of propping up declining, polluting industries, the government must future-proof livelihoods by investing in more green jobs.

A "green opportunity guarantee" is needed that commits to ensuring all young people are offered a job, an apprenticeship, or training.

The UK government should invest up to £10 billion over the next 5 years to create 250,000 green apprenticeships in England and Wales, with wage subsidies of 50-100% depending on need. Devolved nations should receive equivalent funding for programmes within their borders.

Alongside green apprenticeships, we’re also calling for the government to fund £40 billion annually in a green infrastructure investment programme that could create more than 1 million jobs for people of all ages, saving the NHS tens of billions of pounds and delivering other significant benefits like healthier air and warmer homes.

 Not only do green jobs present a golden opportunity to reverse unemployment, they're also basic common sense. Right now, young people are being taught and given careers advice on jobs that may not even exist in 10 years' time. We're setting them up to fail where we could be training them to succeed.

With thanks to...

The Friends of the Earth Green Jobs Report was produced by Transition Economics and is supported by Teach the Future, National Union of Students, Students Organising for Sustainability UK and the Trades Union Congress.

The report is also proudly supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Friends of the Earth Scotland is also campaigning on green jobs, particularly around the recovery from COVID-19. Read their 10 Steps to a Green Recovery.

School girl looking at a wind turbine in classroom