Friday, March 26, 2010 - 11:58

Five thousand green work placements are to be offered to young people aged 14 to 19 in a unique partnership with the Eden Project, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the RSPB, the Institute for Education Business Excellence and leading businesses, Ed Balls announced today.

The £2m DCSF-funded “Green Talent” scheme will nurture and inspire the environmental leaders of tomorrow and will lead the Government’s drive to connect them with job opportunities in the emerging green economy.

As well as creating the first 5,000 placements, the programme will:

  • Introduce young people to the opportunities opening up in the new low carbon economy
  • Inspire them to become engaged in creating environmental solutions, rather than simply informing them about the problems
  • Be a catalyst to a culture change that transforms more traditional work experience so it better prepares young people for 21st century jobs

Children, Schools and Families Secretary Ed Balls said:

“The world is changing and the jobs of the future are changing with it. As parents know, their children have a real desire to become the environmental champions of the future and help save the planet for future generations – and we need to harness this interest and do even more.

“This scheme goes beyond traditional work experience to provide an interactive experience that will transform the lives of the young people who take part, giving them real insight into how the environment works and how business needs to respond to it.

“Green Talent” offers high-quality work placements in an emerging economy, and a new mentoring network to help young people find their feet in the jobs market.”

The contract to deliver the programme has been awarded by the DCSF to a consortium led by the Eden Project in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Institute of Education Business Excellence (IEBE). 

The partnership will also include Arrival Education, Business in the Community through the Work Inspiration campaign and the Prince’s Mayday Network, Carbon Trust, and People & Planet.

The scheme will start in May, with the first young people due to begin their placements this autumn. It will conclude in October 2011.

Young people taken on will join a two-day interactive placement at one of six world-class environmental centres across England, discovering how people are dependent on nature, how it affects our everyday lives and how we need to appreciate and nurture the environment.

They will discuss current views on climate change and experience how businesses are already changing to more sustainable operations and how all these things affect their future career choices.

The six sites are:

  • Eden Project, Cornwall
  • Kew Gardens, south west London
  • Wakehurst Place, West Sussex, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew's country site
  • RSPB nature reserve at Dearne Valley, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire
  • RSPB nature reserve, Saltholme near Middlesbrough
  • RSPB nature reserve, Sandwell Valley near Birmingham

The two days at the centres will be followed by three days of work experience with select companies around the country. These businesses will be engaged in collaboration with Business in The Community through the Work Inspiration campaign and the Prince’s Mayday Network, and IEBE, and will provide work placements that will give young people a chance to hear first-hand:

  • The opportunities being created
  • The skills and talents required to join this challenge
  • How businesses are engaging with climate change
  • How they can apply their new-found knowledge in the business world

Lucy Parker, chair of DCSF’s UK Talent and Enterprise Task Force, said:

“This is a significant programme to introduce young people to the opportunities that are opening up for them in the new low-carbon economy.

“The Eden Project and its consortium offer a powerful platform from which to engage young people in an understanding of our dependence on the natural world and the potential of businesses to be a force for positive change.”

Gaynor Coley, Manager Director of the Eden Project, said: “This project launches our Green Talent programme. The DCSF has provided a fantastic opportunity for us to work hand-in-hand with businesses which care passionately about the environment, creating new opportunities for the next generation to play a real part in shaping our future.

“The aim is to provide industrial-strength solutions to some of the biggest challenges the new century is throwing at us.”

DCSF published its careers advice strategy Quality, Choice and Aspiration in October. It can be found at:

The Government's PSA target to increase the number of apprenticeship completions to 130,000 by 2010/11 has been achieved two years early. The National Apprenticeship Service was announced in January 2008 and officially launched in April 2009. Reporting to DCSF and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the service drives forward the Government's ambition for Apprenticeships. The service aims to bring about a significant growth in the number of employers offering Apprenticeships.

The NAS takes total responsibility for the delivery of Apprenticeships that includes: Employer Services; Learner Services; and a web-based vacancy matching system. This online system enables individuals to search and apply for live vacancies and allows employers, and their training providers to advertise their vacancies to a wide range of interested applicants.