Experts unveil opportunities for youths in green energy transitions
As the need to mitigate climate change intensifies, Nigerian youths have been urged to take advantage of opportunities offered in the sustainability space especially, in green energy transitions, which are stimulating high demand for new skills and creating new occupations.
Experts in the environmental sector made the call at the International Youth Day 2023 forum entitled:” Going Green: Abounding Opportunities for the Youth”, organised by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) virtually in Lagos.
Leading the call, the Founder and Executive Director, Sustainable Solutions for Green Growth, Mr. Azeez Abubakar, explained that as climate change effects have become a concern for everyone, it has equally created diverse opportunities for youth to thrive if they develop passion, necessary skills and commitment needed to play a role in the evolving transition.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), an estimated 100 million jobs can be created through the transition to sustainable energy sources and a green economy. But the development of green skills that include technical knowledge, expertise and abilities that enable the effective use of green technologies and processes in professional settings will be needed by operatives.
Abubakar said the transition to green economy has paved the way for youths to excel in the field of renewable energy, which is booming due to increasing investment by the countries across the world and particularly, the United Nations that started provision of funding support for developing countries to promote renewable energy infrastructure in Africa.
He said: “Renewable energy fields that include wind and geo-thermal are growing faster than the overall regular job market. Countries are also putting into place laws to promote renewable energy use. Many opportunities in clean energy like solar system designing, designing programmes and policy on tracking carbon emissions, design of environmentally friendly communities and environmental conservation are potential opportunities in the green economy.”
Abubakar advised youths to invest in self-development, training and stay updated by attending conferences to gain more knowledge, get involved in grassroot development and network with industry operators.
The Senior Manager, Youth Programme, African Wildlife Foundation, Simangele Msweli-Ratsoana, argued that while there may be diverse opportunities in the green economy, accessing them could be problematic. She, therefore, offered that the youths could join various networks and research groups that will contribute to their growth in the sustainability space.
She encouraged the youths to enlist in leadership training programmes on environmental governance, build skills that are complementary to their career like human resource management, logistics, communication skills rather than the traditional skills.
The Managing Consultant, lmpactCrest Consulting, Mr. Abbas Agbaje, noted that green jobs contribute to the overall goal of preservation of the environment, improve social well being and livelihood of the people.
He charged youths to actively play a role in producing products and services that lower carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. Such products and services, he said include, paper bags for groceries rather than nylon bags, recycling of wastes and metals, manufacturing of eco-labeling equipment, production of solar photovoltaic (PV) system, procurement of green equipment and processing of agriculture products for export.
He further stated that the real estate sector with an estimated 18 to 20 million housing deficits also offers opportunities for the youths to build green affordable housing that reduces water consumption, energy use and other materials.
On his part, NCF Programme Officer, Mr. Joshua Dazi, said youths must capitalise on the green economic transition happening around the world by strategically positioning themselves to access funding and grants for green products and services.
“If the solutions or products proposed to a community problem are not acceptable by the end-users, the product may be abandoned and accessibility to grant may be hindered,” he said.
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