46% of young people will forego education for a green job

Half of Britain’s 16-24-year-olds would disregard university if it meant going straight into an environmental career, with most seeing this as a way to contribute to climate action. 

man holding laptop walking towards building

Overall, 60% of those at school leaving age (16-18 years) said they would prefer employment rather than further or higher education through universities and colleges, and 44% consider apprenticeships to be the best route to a good job. 

The results may not be particularly surprising. Environment Journal has reported on countless analyses that show increasing concern among so-called Gen Z about the climate crisis, and willingness to ‘vote with their feet’ when it comes to choosing where to work and live. Meanwhile, with British students spending £9,250 per person per year on university courses, the idea that many are looking elsewhere for career paths is understandable. 

However, the survey, conducted by E.ON, also reveals that 51% of those between the ages of 16 and 24 would be worried about starting work in a ‘green job’ in case they had their own actions and lifestyle scrutinised on environmental impact terms by colleagues and managers. A further 40% believe green jobs must be based in nature, emphasising a lack of awareness about the broad range of opportunities that currently exist. 

‘It’s incredibly positive that young people are actively looking to build a green career and are keen to join organisations that are focused on helping people become more sustainable,’ said Chris Norbury, CEO of E.ON UK. ‘Industries that are working towards net zero are already creating thousands of exciting new jobs that deliver personal and professional fulfilment for people all over the UK.’

‘We’re leading the way with roles across our organisation focused on helping people become more sustainable in their homes, businesses and communities,’ he continued. ‘One example is our degree apprenticeship scheme which offers opportunities for young people to develop their passion for sustainability and sets them on the path to a successful and rewarding career.’

More on green jobs and education: 

How local government pensions are fuelling regional green investment

City of London report calls for green skills training

How Essex County Council fuelled economic growth with energy retrofits



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