Local London > News > All boroughs

Young people discover green careers and tech changing the world of work

Earlier this month, our Careers Hub team co-hosted Sustainability Careers Fest Live 2023 – our largest green careers event for 13-14 year olds – with leading IT and business consulting services firm CGI.

The event was open to Year 9 students and was designed to help them make informed decisions before choosing GCSE subjects. In response to the growing demand for skills in renewable energy, home energy efficiency, green finance, and electric transport, the event focused on encouraging students to consider green careers – students were able to learn about the range of green career options and discover cutting-edge sustainable tech from key businesses, colleges and universities.

Around 1500 pre-GCSE students from 45 schools were invited to meet with 60 globally renowned businesses and education establishments representing sectors from science to fashion. A wide variety of organisations including Maritime UK, BBC News and Greenwich University engaged with students, sharing the broad range of current and future opportunities within the green sector.

Photos of a high-viz gilet and white hard hat brought by The Skills Centre and the blue metal robotic dog brought by Balfour Beatty.

For the first time, the event provided a dedicated Built Environment zone to highlight the vast variety of green roles in construction and engineering, reflecting the need for developing a skilled workforce in the sector in the sub-region. Among the many businesses in this zone was Mace, the event venue’s architects who created the stadium with a green ethos for the 2012 Olympic Games.

CGI UK showcased their research programme ‘Sustainability Exploration Environmental Data Science’ (SEEDS), which is run in partnership with academic institutions. The program supports the UN’s climate change and biodiversity agendas and helps drive forward inspiring research to develop transformational new technologies and solutions, not only for the UK but for the world and its future generations.

Year 9 students trying out the virtual reality headsets brought by CGI and photo of the electric Tesla car outside the venue.

Among the stars of the day, according to many of the year 9’s, were Balfour Beatty’s robotic dog camera which is used in construction projects to go places people cannot, electric cars supplied by Tesla and Polestar, VR headsets provided by CGI and Wates where students could experience a virtual day making sustainable choices, an immersive exhibition from British Telecom where students could learn about the world’s unexplored oceans, and the thermal heat cameras from Equans.

Commenting on the day, Sarah Murray, Director of Local London said “Research has shown that jobs in the green sector are set to increase three-fold by 2050 in this part of London. We also know that we have skills shortages in some sectors locally. This event, and our future Creative Careers event, is all about broadening expectations for our young people and helping them understand how they can prepare to take up these roles. It would not have been possible without CGI and the other businesses and education establishments who have made this event informative and interactive.”

Alan Dickie, Director of Broadcast and Media, CGI said “CGI are fully invested in creating a sustainable future. We want to inspire the next generation, and get young people really interested in STEM and sustainable careers because that’s the way the future is going to be achieved. The Sustainability Careers Fest was excellent, with a whole array of things going on from workshops to interactive exhibitions and lectures. It was great to see the students interacting with our popular virtual reality goggles, showing them a virtual day making sustainable choices. It looks like this year’s event was even more popular than last year.”

Photos of students infront of a CGI stand, the presenters from the BBC news and the West Ham stand with the event displayed on the scoreboard.

West Ham local, Kasper*, Royal Docks Academy, Newham said “I think the VR is really cool and I like being at the stadium. Today has changed what I’m thinking about doing. I think I might like to be an electrician now.”

Nisha*, from Ursuline Academy Ilford, Redbridge enjoyed different parts of the event “My favourite parts were talking about people’s careers which was really helpful, and the dress one that I really liked. The dress was so well made. They were talking about how they make different kinds of dresses and that was really interesting.”

Sustainability Careers Fest 2023 aligns with Local London’s ambitions for inclusive growth as set out in our Three Year Plan and delivered through the programmes we manage on behalf of our member boroughs: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

Research by WPI Economics, published in 2022, has shown that jobs in the green sector will increase from 234,000 in 2020 to 605,000 in 2030, and over 1m by 2050, representing an increase of almost 350% in just three decades.

Our employer-led plan for addressing skills shortages, Mind the Skills Gap, identified five priority sectors: construction, manufacturing, creative and digital, health and social care, and distribution; we are focussing some of our careers fairs on this priority areas to ensure young people are aware of the opportunities in these sectors.

Photos of the thermal imaging camera from Equans, the immersive space brought by BT and students crowding round the Maritime UK stand.

Our thanks to all of the exhibitors and presenters for making the day such a success.

If you would like to be involved in our work expanding the careers horizons of young people across our nine boroughs, please contact careershub.east@redbridge.gov.uk or Linkedin: careershub-east

*Names changed.

Related content

⇒Read more news from Careers Hub East.

⇒Discover the latest about our employer-led local skills improvement plan.

View news and resources, by tag:

Further reading

  1. Previous Local London Green Jobs and Skills Partnership wins £6.5m to improve skills training across nine boroughs
  2. Next E-businesses shine at Newham Business Awards 2023