By Terry Stone:
As a green technology entrepreneur what opportunities do you see a) for summer internships and b) entry level employment in the sector.
The future of “Green Technology” is really just a different way of saying “the future”. All industries, and jobs, need to be looking to sustainability if we plan on existing on this Big Blue Marble – sustainability in practice, or sustainable development—is development or resources use that meets the needs and aspirations of the present population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future (1987), also known as The Brundtland Report).
This changed perspective is required for the continuation of humanity and for raising an informed and healthy next generation! Furthermore, these “green jobs” are also geographically inclusive, as every province/state and country needs the products and services that green workers provide.
An example of this; diminished use of fossil fuels and the need to stem the environmental damages caused by the climate crisis should lead to an increase in the use of public transportation. That, in turn, will mean an increased demand for workers such as bus drivers and mechanics. Driving a bus isn’t currently considered a green job, but in the future, we will need to look at all jobs and understand how they can be made more sustainable – Elon Musk drove an ICE car, until a more sustainable vehicle was available – we need to think of the transition to sustainability and how it will affect all industries.
A green job should refer to any position that is part of the sustainability workforce: a job that contributes to preserving or enhancing the well-being, culture, and governance of both current and future generations, as well as regenerating the natural resources and ecosystems upon which they rely. And in order for green jobs themselves to be sustainable, they need to be good, living-wage jobs.
The transition to sustainability, in all industries and jobs, will require considerable review and re-education, in order to ensure success for the future. Therefore, our youth (regardless of race, class and gender) and educators will be the cornerstone of success. Our ability to prepare students, will determine the future health of civic, social and economic outcomes. To build a sustainable society, education and educators are essential (A GUIDE TO GREEN CAREERS – Make A Living, Make A Difference).
In Frances Edmonds article, Building a Skilled Workforce for the Green Economy, we learn that employers should be making great efforts to include internships and youth employment in all organizations – the young are the future; let’s train them accordingly! Canadian college and university campuses house over 2.5 million students a year. Canada’s environmental footprint is among the largest in the world, fuelling climate change and unprecedented wildlife loss. Imagine if we invited these students to tackle Canada’s greatest sustainability challenges, no matter what field they are studying, and harness their desire to act!
As an employer, not only could you tap into freshest minds of the future, but you would also be in a position access funding to offset the costs of internships. The Government of Canada funds STIP (Science & Technology Internship Program), for organizations in energy, forestry, earth sciences, minerals and metals. “The benefits are two-fold. Companies with an eye towards innovation can access funds to deepen its talent pool and young talented Canadians start their careers in an emerging industry”, says Rob Henderson, President and CEO of BioTalent Canada
Organizations who qualify for the STIP—Green Jobs wage subsidy are eligible to have 75% of a new hire’s salary covered up to $22,500 per year and up to $30,000 annually for youth furthest from employment. These funds can help pay for onboarding and training of young, innovative minds.
“As we build the net-zero economy, we are expanding employment and STEM skills development for young people,” says The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer CO-OP programs, which will provide funding for students placed in a learning environment (employed). These programs cross the gambit, regarding faculties and placements, but all provide a financial off-set to the hiring organization. These programs can be four to twelve months, in duration, and the same student may attend multiple placements within the same organization.
As an organization, to overlook internships, is to overlook access to the freshest talent, training incentives and ensuring the organizations sustainability. Additionally, internship programs can be utilized as an extended job interview, all the time reducing the risks of new hires.
About Science Technology Internship Program – Green Jobs
The Science and Technology Internship Program – Green Jobs covers the cost of a new hire’s salary by 75% to a maximum of $22,500/yr and $30,000/yr for youth furthest from employment. These funds help employers hire the talent they need and help youth initiate a career. Employers can bring on an eager, young worker for a special project – and at the end of the placement end up with a skilled candidate already oriented to their company. Youth from northern and remote communities have an opportunity for an increased subsidy. For more information visit biotalent.ca/GreenJobs.
From a students’ perspective the importance of earning an post-secondary education is undoubtedly important, in today’s competitive job market, but it is only a step to a successful professional career. Today’s graduates need an edge on their competition more than ever, and that edge often takes the form of a college internship and/or job experience.
Further, in the same manner that an internship can mitigate the risks of the employer, the student has the opportunity to garner an education and work experience within a sector and organization while learning and getting paid. If it proves to be a good fit, the student can leverage this to a career; if not, there is no stigma to moving on – it was an internship, after all.
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