Generation Green ambitions at risk of going to ‘waste’
Published: Fri 18 Sep 2020
Published: Fri 18 Sep 2020
Over two-thirds of children (68%) aged 5 – 13, hope to follow a career that helps the environment, but a lack of understanding about these jobs could stop them from getting there. Seven in 10 (71%) kids feel this knowledge gap is the biggest barrier to their dream career, and a third (33%) of parents cannot give an example of a sustainability-related profession to guide their children.
The Government recently announced a £40million investment to unlock thousands of ‘green jobs’. However, the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), who commissioned the research, warns that without an understanding of eco-friendly careers, children may follow other routes.
Making a positive difference (55%) is a bigger influence on kids’ career choices than ‘money’ (31%) or ‘fame’ (7%) but the research highlights a need to maintain children’s passion for saving the planet to ensure a strong pipeline of talent. Six in 10 (59%) six-year-olds listed ‘making a positive difference’ as the biggest influence, but this drops to 50% by age 13, while ‘earning as much money as possible’ rises from 26% to 38% in the same age groups.
70% of kids claim to do at least three environmentally friendly things every day such as recycling or choosing a green method of transport. Nearly two-thirds of children (64%) believe saving the planet from climate change to be the world’s number one priority, compared to just 57% of adults.
But demonstrating the need for more environmental action, both groups agree that efforts have dwindled in the shadow of the pandemic – with 71% of parents and 77% of children feeling sustainability has taken a back seat in the past six months.
To help harness kids' passion, the IET has created a content series that looks at different green jobs in the field of engineering; what they are and what they entail. The videos are fronted by Lindsey Russell who speaks to people whose jobs help save the planet and minimise humanity’s impact on the environment, to better understand what they do and why their work is so important.
Lindsey Russell, TV presenter said: “Climate change is one of the biggest issues we face as a generation and it’s an extremely important time for us to take action so I’m honoured to be able to work with the IET to front this campaign. I’ve spoken to some incredibly talented people and hopefully, the video series helps inform kids about the options they have to turn their passion into a career and help save the planet.”
Dr Peter Bonfield, President at the IET, said: “It’s clear that children have a real enthusiasm to help the environment but both young people and their parents need guidance in order to be able to turn their passion into future careers. Engineering and technology-related sectors are at the forefront of providing sustainability-related solutions and we hope that this content series helps explain to children the ways in which they can help tackle these issues.”
To view the series and find out more about sustainability careers, visit https://www.engineer-a-better-world.org/
Top green jobs for kids to pursue:
The research was conducted by 3Gem from 21 - 27 August 2020 – surveying 1000 children between the ages of 5-13 years old and 1000 parents of children between 5-13 years old.
In the video series which can be viewed at https://www.engineer-a-better-world.org/, Lindsey speaks to an Aerospace engineer that has worked on hybrid-electric aircraft for sustainable air transport, an Oceanographer working on ocean clean-ups and a power-systems engineer who helps utility companies to try and achieve their Net Zero ambitions.
In addition to creating a video content series, the IET has five top tips for parents to nurture their children’s interest in the environment and a list of possible ‘green jobs’ in the world of STEM.