Climate change creates green jobs

When winter winds rattle the windows and high waves batter our coasts, Scotland can seem a harsh home to its inhabitants. But liabilities turn to assets as climate change gathers momentum, with our winds, waves and other renewables becoming increasingly valuable resources and offering attractive career opportunities to young people.

So Careers Scotland has launched a website on working in the renewable energy industry. "We've seen a 45 per cent increase in visitors to our site compared to the same period last year," says Danny Logue, director of Careers Scotland. "Much of which we believe is young people."

The agency is raising awareness of the site through the same channels young people use to communicate and entertain each other. "We have short videos about The Path is Green on YouTube. There is also an e-zine that goes out to teachers," says Mr Logue. "The website is designed as an alternative to people talking face-to-face to young people, or just giving them a report to read."

Two main sections outline a variety of careers in renewables, and case studies of young people, such as wave-power engineer Ros Hart, apprentice plumber Liam Sherif, who installs solar panels in homes, and wind analyst Alison Jenkins.

Around 50,000 green jobs could be created in the next 10 years, says Alex Blackwood, head of key labour market sectors at Careers Scotland. "Opportunities range from new jobs, such as turbine engineer for wind farms, to traditional jobs like plumbers, who will need a new skill set."

The Path is Green is targeting teachers through a competition for registered teams of 14 to 18-year-olds. The assignment is to use journalistic skills to produce an illustrated update to the website, including a page of green job adverts. Each team has an online workspace where images, videos and text can be uploaded "to create an e-update that grabs the audience's attention".

Teams select a scenario: the food crisis, electricity generation, or cutting carbon emissions, with the best team winning a tour of BBC headquarters in Glasgow, in the company of weather forecaster Heather Reid, and a wind-up media-player by inventor Trevor Bayliss.

The Path is Green is a pilot study for this new approach to raising awareness among young people, says Mr Logue. "We're talking to the Scottish Government and the sector skills councils and are getting a lot of interest from other areas, such as science and engineering, financial services and tourism."

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