Environment Jobs Scotland is a project launched in September by the charity Forward Scotland to carry out research into employment opportunities in the environment sector. It has received £136,000 funding, including £10,000 from BP.
Forward Scotland's Jobs in the Environment Support Unit, which runs the project, has identified the potential to create up to 20,000 jobs in the Scottish environmental sector. It lists skills requirements and training options in the waste and renewable energy sectors, where it says most future job opportunities are.
Frazer Scott, assistant chief executive at Forward Scotland, says jobseekers often see 'green' jobs as a last resort because they have a reputation for not providing long-term career opportunities. "This sector is associated with bad employers and low pay," he says.
The project works with companies to make green jobs more attractive to young people. Scott says many people involved in waste management are close to retirement age and companies might not have enough skilled young employees when the older staff leave.
"Waste management is very technical and employs a lot of engineers, which doesn't attract young people," he says. "But companies now realise that planning for the future is crucial."
Scott says some companies such as Vestas Celtic, which builds wind turbines, have started to recruit young people through local job centres. But he thinks more should embark upon similar joint initiatives. "It is a challenge for large companies such as BP," he says. "They are committed to the project, but they constantly have to adjust to the global economy."
The project culminates in an October seminar at which stakeholders from the public and private sectors will discuss how to drive more people towards the environmental job market.