Jobs and society  |  Successes  |  20.05.2014

London, United Kingdom:Local Communities for green skills and jobs

The green sector in the UK is increasingly seen as an important source of growth for the country. In 2011/12, it directly employed nearly a million full-time staff. The sector is expected to create nearly half a million new jobs by 2020. In 2011, employers, trade unions, education providers, local authorities and community representatives launched the London Green Skills Partnership to exploit the green job potential. The Partnership is a bottom-up initiative with three main objectives: to create local networks to work together; to provide training, skills and work experience for locals, including the unemployed; and to transform communities into greener, safer, cleaner and more inclusive places.

Job seekers are trained in both basic and specific environmental skills needed to transform employment into green jobs in domains as diverse as retrofitting buildings, hairdressing and waste management. Trained individuals also act as ‘green ambassadors’ in their neighbourhoods and workplaces, sharing their green skills with colleagues and neighbours to foster additional change.

Green jobs are being created in rainwater harvesting, building insulation, giving advice on how to access grant support, installing photovoltaic solar systems, community gardening (grass-cutting, woodland management, composting), using eco-friendly products in hairdressing, recycling, waste management and offering advice on how to cut waste. The Partnership has evolved since its initial phase in East and South London, spreading across the whole city and now also to other parts of the UK. Its successes include:

  • The creation of more than 500 training opportunities through all initiatives
  • The provision of training and offers of work experience in the horticulture, waste management and retrofit sectors for 100 unemployed people
  • The establishment of a pioneering workers’ cooperative, the Lewisham New Leaf Collective, to integrate renewable energy generation into the sustainable retrofitting of social housing
  • The conclusion of agreements with some of the country’s largest construction companies and service providers on work placements, guaranteed interviews, apprenticeships and employment opportunities for workers and unemployed people in South London in domains associated with energy savings and sustainability.  

This Green success was published in the brochure "Green Jobs: Successes and Opportunities for Europe" of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament. 

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