Press Release

Generation UK and Macquarie launch pioneering training programme for green jobs

London, 01 September 2021

  • Initiative is the first of its kind offering profession-specific training for unemployed young people to enter the green sector
  • New green jobs programme to help address youth unemployment and the skill demands for reaching net zero targets across the UK
  • 100 unemployed young people will take part in a pilot programme ahead of a nationwide rollout to support with upskilling across the green sector

Today, youth employment non-profit organisation Generation: You Employed, UK announces a new training programme for unemployed young people, aged 18-29, that will provide the skills they need to thrive in jobs in the green sector in partnership with Macquarie Group (Macquarie).

The initiative is the first of its kind in the green sector and has been developed with guidance from experts across Macquarie, its Green Investment Group (GIG), and with catalytic funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation.

The new 10-week programme, the first in a series, will equip learners with the technical and behavioural skills they need to thrive in jobs in retrofitting homes to improve their energy efficiency in the UK’s transition to net zero. The training will be delivered by expert instructors and includes one-on-one mentorship for learners, and active matchmaking and placement with employer partners upon completion.

In the quarter March to May 2021, there were over half a million young people (aged 16 to 24) unemployed in the UK. Furthermore, young people have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic accounting for two-fifths of the fall in employment since its start. At the same time, the UK’s rapidly growing green sector is expected to create thousands of jobs in the coming years, with the National Grid estimating the energy sector alone must recruit 400,000 more employees to meet the UK’s 2050 net zero target. However, organisations across sectors crucial to the green transition are already reporting difficulties recruiting – c.70 per cent of employers surveyed by Generation find it hard sourcing people with the right skills at junior levels.

There is an opportunity to meet the challenges of youth unemployment and rising demand for green jobs in tandem, by providing young unemployed people with train-and-place pathways equipping them to thrive in jobs fundamental to the green transition.

Inspired by this opportunity, Generation and Macquarie collaborated on a diagnostic project to identify the most impactful starting point for green skills training. Through this work, which included over 100 stakeholder interviews with a variety of employers and industry bodies, a shortlist of roles were identified that could establish a model for targeted training in the green sector with potential to scale-up the programme to support thousands of unemployed young people.

The first programme to launch in 2021, designed in partnership with the Retrofit Academy CIC, the leading provider of retrofit training in the UK, will train and place young people into jobs as retrofit advisors. Retrofit describes the process of improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings with the installation of new technology and features including insulation, heat pumps, solar panels, and smart boilers. Retrofit advisors will play a key role in this process delivering advice and assistance to individuals going through home retrofits and providing crucial administrative support.

To meet the UK’s net zero targets, a significant proportion of the UK’s c.27 million homes will need to be retrofitted, with research from the Climate Change Committee and the Construction Industry Training Board estimating that more than 10,000 new retrofit specific roles across a range of employers will be created to do this by 2025 alone. The new programme will provide an entry-level talent pipeline to directly meet this need.

Generation has set an ambitious target to place 80 per cent of learners from these programmes into roles within three months of completing the training across housing associations, councils, energy/utility providers, and specialist retrofit delivery and installation companies and is actively onboarding employer partners now.

This project also benefits from the support of other Generation funders, including Blackrock as part of its pledge of $US13 million in support from their COVID-19 donation fund to scale up Generation’s programmes globally. The funding includes support to launch innovative new programmes in growth sectors, helping those impacted by the pandemic into life-changing jobs.

Michael Houlihan, CEO at Generation UK, said: “In tackling the climate crisis we have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the economy that require specific skills that are currently in short supply. At the same time, youth employment has been severely impacted by the pandemic, marked by significant job losses, especially for those from underrepresented backgrounds, with entire youth employment sectors, like hospitality, being forced to shut down.

“There is now an unrivalled opportunity for us to provide a diverse group of young people with the training to enter the rapidly-growing green sector. We are delighted to be working with Macquarie to fill the green jobs of the future and as a result help the UK’s 2050 Net Zero targets.”

Edward Northam, Head of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group in the UK and Europe, said: “With climate change one of the defining challenges of our time, as a business, we’re extremely focussed on advancing practical solutions to help drive the energy transition. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this, utilising our deep expertise in the green space to collaborate and deliver this pioneering project alongside Generation UK, continuing to support the UK’s energy transition and simultaneously supporting young learners into an exciting career.”

Erin Shakespeare, Acting Global Head, Macquarie Group Foundation, said: “Through our COVID-19 donation fund, we are seeking to stimulate economic recovery by supporting groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. By partnering with Generation UK on the Green Jobs project, we will create meaningful opportunities for individuals who face significant barriers to employment.”

As an organisation we are committed to reaching net zero operational emissions by 2051 and aligning our financing activity with the global goal of net zero emissions by 2050. The green economy brings significant net-new job opportunities for a broad spectrum of workers and sectors and we’re pleased to be involved in the design and delivery of this project.”

Macquarie has been leading in the renewables space for many years and through GIG it has grown to have one of the world’s largest teams of specialist green investors and developers. In the UK alone, Macquarie has financed approximately 50 per cent of operating offshore wind farms, developed the world’s largest new build dedicated biomass power station - MGT Teeside in North-East England alongside its partners, and supported the transition to more energy efficient homes as the largest independent metering asset provider – leasing 10 million meters in the UK.


About Generation

Generation: You Employed, UK are a not-for-profit organisation helping to empower young people facing barriers in employment to build thriving, sustainable careers in tech and to provide employers with the highly-skilled, motivated talent they need. Their tailored programmes help to recruit, train and place unemployed young people into work. Through their unique approach they also solve a wide range of employer challenges - skilled talent shortages, poor job performance, lack of diversity, and high turnover. They have over 80 per cent job attainment and over 3,000 employee partners globally.

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