'Game-changing' sustainability festival launches for young people across Yorkshire

Young people are to be told the importance of green skills

A month-long sustainability festival set to showcase the importance of green skills in the economy could be ‘game-changing’ for young people across Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Greener Futures Youth Festival will take place throughout June and July, designed to inspire and excite young people across the region about their role in building a greener future through a tailored programme of interactive events and opportunities.

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Delivered by leading ESG specialist Ahead Partnership, and key employers and voices within the sector, the event will run in partnership with the Yorkshire Sustainability Festival. The initiative seeks to challenge misconceptions about environmental sustainability and showcase the work being done now to support a greener future to the next generation of young talent, helping to boost their interest and engagement with the sector.

A 'game-changing' festival for young people has launched.A 'game-changing' festival for young people has launched.
A 'game-changing' festival for young people has launched.

It will be ‘game-changing’, according to the organisers: green skills are becoming increasingly important for all jobs as the UK transitions to Net Zero. On top of this, young people are looking for things to make them stand out in an ever more competitive job market, and this festival aims to help them develop the skills and knowledge to get ahead.

The Greener Futures Youth Festival will see a diverse programme of events reach schools and students across the region, including careers panels, speed networking and a strong line-up of interactive workplace visits designed to give young people the opportunity to collaborate closely with industry professionals and gain hands-on sector experience.

The programme further expands into the Yorkshire Sustainability Conference which takes place on 18 and 19 June at Cloth Hall Court in Leeds, where four students will have the unique chance to participate among experts in a skills panel for the green economy. Participants will explore and unlock their own insights on sustainability and present their findings on the opening day of the conference, to begin an important knowledge exchange between sector leaders and young voices.

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Ahead Partnership will deliver these flagship events as part of its wider, Growing Talent Greener Futures programme. This multi-year initiative, co-designed and co-delivered by employers within the sector including Landsec and Arcadis, aims to inspire and engage young voices with the green agenda, foster a more diverse and inclusive greener workforce, and secure a pipeline of talent with the necessary skills and experience to meet the needs of industry.

Georgina Johnson, Programme Manager at Ahead Partnership, said: “Climate change can bring uncertainty and worry for the next generation, but its solutions give rise to fantastic career paths for them. We are so excited to launch the first Greener Futures Youth Festival to show young people how different industries across the region are responding to climate change and improve their chances at securing a great career.

“Seeing so many organisations joining forces to invest in young talent in the name of sustainability is incredibly encouraging for the future inclusivity and potential of our future workforce, and the future of our planet.

“Ahead Partnership will also be exhibiting at the Yorkshire Sustainability Festival and we look forward to meeting more like-minded employers and attendees to help them find out more about the programme, and support its future growth.”

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Paul Wrigley, Senior Technical Director at Arcadis, said: “Lack of access to a skilled workforce remains the greatest limiter within the green economy, so we are keen to welcome students into our place of work to play our role in the development of future skills and future talent.

“We have so much insight and experience to share with the students getting involved and are excited to learn as employers from their own invaluable perspective. We look forward to helping students build their interest in the sustainability sector, to equip them with the knowledge they need and help them unlock their full potential.”

Steven Foster, Centre Director of Leeds Trinity and White Rose Shopping Centres, Landsec, said: “The work we've undertaken with Ahead Partnership over the years has showcased how essential it is to engage with young people on issues that we face together, to help expand their understanding and experience of the needs of tomorrow, and their role within it.

“The Yorkshire and Humber regions will see significant growth and opportunity within green innovation over the next 10-20 years, so we need to ensure that future workforces have the necessary skills and drive to help us to unlock this potential.

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“We want to secure and boost opportunities in this growing sector for all young people and are committed to supporting initiatives like the Greener Futures Youth Festival to help deliver this. It is our responsibility as business leaders invest in a more inclusive workforce to support the delivery of our sustainability goals.”

Kate Hutchinson, Founder of Yorkshire Sustainability Festival, said: “This aim of this year’s festival is to really shape how we as leaders can make a difference across various sectors, so it’s incredibly exciting to see the sustainable business community stepping up to involve young voices in conversations about our collective future.

“We are all about levelling the playing field so that everyone feels invited and part of a community. That’s why we’re offering Pay in Forward tickets for those that may not be able to afford a ticket otherwise.

“Young people have a huge role to play in the green revolution, so the Greener Futures Youth Festival is the perfect opportunity to showcase the green innovation that is happening in our region to those who will ultimately shape it.

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“We hope to strengthen, inspire and expand our sustainable business community across the region, and investing in our future leaders is a fantastic step towards our goals. We are incredibly excited to welcome young participants to this year’s event and look forward to seeing the many ways that this partnership will ultimately support a greener future.”