Delivering opportunities for young people and increasing ethnic diversity in the flourishing green economy
Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship, a transformational ‘first of its kind’ skills programme has opened for applications. It is offering young people aged 18 – 28 living in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, Bath and North East Somerset access to green jobs, training and business opportunities. The programme particularly encourages applications from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse young people.
The programme, led by UWE Bristol, in collaboration with NatWest and the Black South West Network will help the West of England region transition to a green economy, while seeking to address the underrepresentation of people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds in environmental careers, through an inclusive and equitable programme of training and employment opportunities.
Launched against a backdrop of economic recovery, following the Covid pandemic, and the demand for 50,000 new jobs to be created in the region by 2030 to meet the zero carbon target, it will provide participants with fully paid training in newly emerging green skills, facilitate access to internships and support start-ups in a fast growing sector.
Learners will receive 8 days of paid in-person training in small groups focusing on developing leadership and networking skills, whilst covering topics including the future of energy, a zero waste approach to food and carbon neutral building and retrofitting. They will then move on to either a paid local internship, or fully funded further training, or support for starting their own business.
Learners will receive tailored coaching, mentoring and careers advice throughout the programme and benefit from site visits to experience green skills in action.
Businesses in the region looking to include diverse talent and introduce key green skills into their business will be able to benefit from fully funded internship opportunities.
As a legacy, the project will launch a Green Skills and Entrepreneurship HUB providing a toolkit of skills and business support for learners, entrepreneurs, businesses and social enterprises and will including training modules and talent and employment opportunities.
Sado Jirde, Director, Black South West Network said “BSWN is delighted to be a partner in this pilot programme. The opportunities to provide targeted, sector specific skills and enterprise opportunities to Black and Minoritized communities are few and far between and this programme is an innovative and unique step forward. We are looking forward to welcoming a cohort of Black and Minoritized environmental entrepreneurs to our new Enterprise and Culture Centre at the Coach House in St Paul’s. We hope that this pilot will evolve into an ongoing, longer-term programme that will address two-fold, intersecting issues of the environmental crisis and racial injustice.”
Director of Business, Research and Innovation, Tracey John said: “Green Skills for Jobs and Entrepreneurship will provide the skills and support needed by young people who’ve missed out on so many opportunities as a result of the Covid pandemic, while opening up opportunities to communities that have previously experienced difficulty in receiving mainstream support. We’re delighted to be working with our partners at Black South West Network and NatWest to deliver such an exciting new programme helping to create inclusive regional economic growth whilst supporting the West of England’s transition to a green economy.”
Matt Hatcher, Director, Commercial Banking said: “As a principal partner at COP26 and as the leading bank in the UK for business customers and one of the largest for retail customers, we understand the role the finance sector needs to play in helping companies, customers and communities achieve their net zero ambitions. Our recent Springboard to Sustainability Report has also shown the opportunities the green economy can create. SMEs could create up to 130,000 new jobs, produce around 30,000 new businesses and result in an estimated £160 billion opportunity for the UK economy. This partnership offers the chance to put our young people and communities at its heart. By working together with UWE Bristol and the Black South West Network, we can provide the skills and resources to help nurture their potential and make progress towards a more inclusive economy in the West of England.”
Young people interested in applying to the scheme should see below:
Businesses in the region can find out more at www.skillsforfutures.co.uk
It is managed, in the West of England, by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) on behalf of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).
The UK Community Renewal Fund aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK, creating opportunities to trial new approaches and innovative ideas at the local level.
WECA covers the three geographical areas of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, and South Gloucestershire.