Plan International says young people around the world are not ready to work in the green economy

Young people around the world feel unprepared to find work in the green economy which is critical to addressing the climate crisis. This is evidenced by a survey conducted by Plan International among 2,229 young people in 53 countries, including the Netherlands. Only one in three young people (29 percent) between the ages of 15 and 30 have the skills needed for jobs that will help us tackle climate change. Young women feel less prepared than their male peers, while climate change is affecting them severely.

A global transition to a green, low-carbon economy is essential to preventing climate change and limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C. The United Nations has calculated that the Paris climate agreement could create 24 million new jobs by 2030 and that making the agricultural sector more sustainable is good for 60 million green jobs. However, recent research by Plan International shows that young people do not feel adequately prepared for these new jobs.

Main conclusions

  • Only one in three young people (29%) believe that their education has fully prepared them for the impacts of climate change.
  • Only one in ten (9 percent) of young people surveyed has applied for a green job or been employed in a job that combats the effects of climate change.
  • Lack of seed capital (38 percent) and skills (32 percent) are major barriers to getting started in the green economy.
  • Only one in four young women (25 percent) feel ready to work in the green economy, compared to 33 percent of young men surveyed.

Young people interested in climate change

Among the youth surveyed, the vast majority (94 percent) were directly affected by climate change, in particular through changes in temperature or seasons, increased floods, storms, periods of drought or heavy rains. Nine out of ten (95 percent) of young people surveyed are concerned about the impact of climate change.

Jessica Cook, climate change expert at Plan International: “Young people will have to live longer with the devastating effects of the climate crisis. The need to move from an economy dominated by fossil fuels to a green one is clear and urgent. However, this research shows that green jobs are rare and hard to find and that young people entering the labor market feel unprepared to apply for these jobs.”

Climate change is affecting girls more and more around the world

Inequality between girls and boys is only increasing because of climate change. In times of drought, for example, girls are the first to leave school early to help their families earn money, do household chores, or find water and food. This makes them extremely vulnerable to sexual violence, exploitation and/or abuse.

In addition to dropping out of school, climate change is also increasing the number of child marriages. Increasing drought is leading to food scarcity, leaving families in desperate need of survival solutions. They use the dowry as a last resort to keep their family alive. If they marry their daughter, it means reducing the mouth to feed them.

Green skills for the jobs of the future

Plan International strives to integrate climate resilience and negative climate change mitigation into all of its projects. For example, societies are supported in their knowledge and resources to adapt to the consequences of climate change and projects in education and employment contain both climate and environmental modules. These curricula focus on green skills, that is, the knowledge and skills needed to address humans’ impact on climate.

Plan International supports sustainable business growth by training young green entrepreneurs and provides young activists with the opportunity to attend global climate conferences and amplify their voices, including at the political level.

About Search

  • The research is based on an online survey of 2,229 young adults between the ages of 15 and 30 in 53 countries. 61% of those surveyed were female.
  • Most of the participants are from Sub-Saharan Africa (32%) and East Asia and the Pacific (27%). The majority of young people surveyed live in a low (20%) or lower middle income country (47%). About 40 respondents came from the Netherlands.

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