20.06.24 Employment & skills

Supporting young people into green careers

In this member blog, Kirsten Hambly of Bristol Future Talent Partnership shares the opportunity to support Bristol’s young people into the environment sector.

Although it’s great to see some warmer weather arriving in Bristol, summer can be a stressful time for young people anticipating their exam results. As they face their future, Bristol organisations can equip them with knowledge and insight about possible future career pathways. Bristol’s young people have a lot to offer the city’s thriving community of nature-based and green businesses – but sometimes careers and opportunities in the sector are not visible to potential candidates.

Bristol Future Talent Partnership was set up to remove barriers, raise aspirations and provide talent with opportunity for young people from global majority backgrounds in Bristol. Since we began our work in 2021, we have directly impacted the lives of over 1,200 young people in the city, providing high quality work experience placements and mentoring opportunities to help foster the skills that these students need to excel in their future careers.

Young people in Bristol face some of the highest levels of inequality and discrimination across the UK, particularly in education and employment. Furthermore, the 2022 RACE Report revealed that the environmental sector is one of the least diverse in the UK, with just 7% of those working in the sector identifying as Black, Asian or minority ethnic compared to a 14% national average across all people in employment.

However, research has shown that over a quarter of young people think that guaranteed work experience is one of the most important interventions to help them into good employment. Created in collaboration with students, businesses and educational establishments, our work experience programmes are designed to be transformational from the outset. They not only meet the educational requirements placed onto students but also foster the skills that they need for their future careers.

100% of the organisations that we have worked with reported that they would like to host more students, citing the benefits that the placement had on the staff members who were engaged in planning and executing the placement.

Kirsten Burnard, Area Director at Lloyds, said, “I had the most refreshing and rewarding time, learning more about the students ambitions and them as individuals. When I was asked at the end of the week, ‘Miss, will you miss us next week?’ (Miss?!) the answer was truly yes – I learnt as much from them as I hope they did from their week with us!”

Many of the students who complete placements find that their career goals and aspirations change as a result. One student said after his week at Ashfords LLP, “After hearing from your brilliant apprentices, I have decided to go this route myself and search for a legal apprenticeship in order to achieve my goal of becoming a solicitor.”

Another student, after spending a week at the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens, said, “My career plans have evolved to consider what I could contribute to sustainability…and I’m definitely considering doing a course in horticulture alongside that of zoology.”

Furthermore, 80% of the apprenticeship scheme uptake at Hargreaves Lansdown were students who took part in the Bristol Future Talent Partnership work experience placement, showing the benefit too for the organisations that choose to host young people and open themselves up to diverse perspectives and new talents.

We now have almost 50 Bristol based organisations that we have partnered with to deliver high quality work experience placements, but we are always looking for new organisations, particularly from the green and environmental sectors, to help us reach more young people and transform more lives within the city.

We are currently planning our programme of placements for this autumn – if you are a Bristol based organisation and would like to work with other likeminded organisations to help make the city a fairer and more racially equal pace to study and work, get in touch.

We provide the support and guidance that you need to plan and execute your work placement, making it as easy as possible for your organisation to get involved.

Email kirsten@bristolfuturetalent.co.uk today to find out more and get involved!

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Group of students in a garden

Bristol Future Talent Partnership