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New IET research reveals Generation Green ambitions at risk of going to ‘waste’

The research found that 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, 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.

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.

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 read the full press release, please visit the IET’s media hub. To view the series and find out more about sustainability careers, visit