Will the Covid recovery fuel a green jobs boom for postgraduates?

Will the Covid recovery fuel a green jobs boom for postgraduates?

4 minutes read

With a predicted surge in green jobs, is now the time to pursue a qualification in the green industry?

The next generation of environmentally-conscious individuals is actively exploring careers to tackle the climate challenge, inspired to some extent by the campaigning of young activist Greta Thunberg. People realise that to ensure our environment is conserved for the next generation requires decisive action and people like Greta have proven that our voice can drive change.

Leading global scientists overwhelmingly agree that time is running out to control global warming levels below 1.5C. What is promising is that more people are actively seeking employment in industries that are supporting the climate challenge. 

The green economy represents a great opportunity for postgraduates, especially with many traditional markets losing thousands of jobs due to the impacts of the pandemic. University education managers believe the green agenda will form the foundation for a sustainable recovery from Covid-19 and support further innovation, development and most importantly, employment. 

Approximately 700,000 new jobs could be created in low carbon industries by 2030, rising to over a million by 2050, according to the Local Government Association. From these figures, about 50% will be in clean electricity generation, a further 20% will focus on energy efficiency, 20% on low carbon services such as finance and approximately 10% on the development of low-emission vehicles.

Green industry jobs are recorded to have a median salary of £40,000, greater than the UK average and job satisfaction levels are reportedly higher. Green jobs are considered to be a promising alternative to other conventional markets. Most job roles and businesses will accelerate their focus on environmental and sustainability measures, so postgraduates from multiple disciplines will be required.

The big attraction of this industry is how rewarding it is to people, generating a financial profit and a viable purpose. Green and growth can fit together, enabling students to build the necessary skills for a more sustainable future.

Postgraduate courses can enable students to progress and accelerate their position in the green economy. For example, the MSc in Carbon Management at the University of Edinburgh begins with subjects consisting of the science and economics of climate change. Students then proceed to focus on carbon-capturing solutions, climate risk and investment, working in various areas such as smart grids and woodland regeneration.

Dave Reay, the chair of carbon management and education at the University of Edinburgh believes that a green recovery from the pandemic can generate a lot of new opportunities. Reay highlights that while our government has promised this transition to a green future before, he believes that times have changed and the overall awareness of climate change has accelerated dramatically.

Anthony Tattersall, the VP enterprise EMEA at course provider Coursera says the current job market has been impacted significantly by the pandemic. Most sectors have experienced a decline in hiring rates according to the Future of Jobs report 2020. There has, however, been a dramatic rise in interest and demand in training and courses associated with the green industry. Tattersall states that they have witnessed an increase of nearly 800% in students enrolling on green industry courses, including renewable energy and green businesses. 

Many clean energy and environment industry leaders view the green economy as the economy of the future. The UK renewables capacity has increased dramatically and in the last few years, the overall momentum for change has grown so much. We’ve reached a stage where innovation and development are more than just a vision. A green future has progressed beyond a concept promoted by a minority, to a mainstream issue impacting both society and business.

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