Teaching about Green and Environmental Careers

Posted in July 2020

This is a great article by CEGNET. Its a really useful look at green jobs and teaching the future generation. It dates back to 2015 but is a useful resource...

The content of careers programmes can become dangerously narrow. Perennial topics such as CV writing and interview practice are not enough. Raising aspirations, improving social mobility, overcoming skills shortages and tackling youth unemployment and unemployability are huge and important challenges to be addressed through careers programmes, but they too are not enough. Careers education must also be about preparing young people for the changes in the labour market that we can already recognise. Globalisation, new technologies, the knowledge economy and sustainable economic development are mega-issues for careers work in schools. This briefing is about one of these - the green industrial revolution that is already underway. What are we doing to ensure that young people know how it will change the adult and working lives they have imagined for themselves? How do we teach them about green careers?
‘Green’ is shorthand for anything that is concerned with protecting and making a positive difference to the environment; and it is closely related to ideas about ethical and sustainable development. Behaving in a ‘green’ way, whether you are an individual or an organisation, is both complex and difficult. So how can we help people who want and need to make green career decisions? Are they interested in working in one of the green industries such as renewable energy? Or are they just interested in working in the green end of an existing sector such as eco-tourism in the tourism industry? Or do they want to do the job they have in a more environmentally responsible way such as turning off unnecessary lights and walking or cycling to work?
Helping people to make these choices uses the same techniques careers practitioners have always used. Young people need to think about their skills, interests and values. They also need to investigate the rewards, risks, barriers and opportunities related to what they’ve got in mind so they can formulate goals and actions. Even then, they need to be prepared for the chaotic effects of life experiences and events that can make a big difference to what actually happens to them.
How do we incorporate all this into a green careers programme? Teaching about green careers is not just about replacing existing elements with new ones. With an awareness of the green agenda, how would you play The Real Game differently or re-think the way you organise a ‘Careers Day’? Here are some stage by stage suggestions for teaching about green careers.
Key Stage Three Don’t let previous learning go to waste! Y7 & 8 is a good time to build on the enthusiasm of pupils generated by their participation in exciting projects and initiatives in primary school. Reinforce the message that the greening of all careers is a global imperative for the future of humanity. So as well as looking at ‘specific green jobs’ (e.g. caring for nature jobs) it is important for all of us to work in greener ways. Ask pupils to brainstorm how they as learners can be green by example, e.g. print less to save paper, recycle as much as they can, don’t keep computers running unnecessarily, turn off lights when leaving the room….
For the full report go to http://www.cegnet.co.uk/uploads/resources/Cegnet_briefing_-_Teaching_about_Green_Careers.pdf


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