News / Sustainability

Empowering future sustainability leaders

By ellie pipe, Thursday Jul 9, 2020

More paid, entry level jobs in the environmental sector for young people from all backgrounds is critical to a green recovery, say Catalyse Change directors.

The St Andew’s-based CIC has just launched a three-day summit focusing on empowering women as future leaders in sustainability and is working to highlight the importance of accessible, inclusive employment to achieve an equitable green recovery.

Bosses say the £3bn package announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak to “kickstart” an environmental economic recovery must be used to provide a leg-up for those who currently struggle to access the sector.

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“In the social and environmental sector, paid, entry level positions are hard to find,” explains Jenna Holliday, co-founder and director of Catalyse Change.

“It is critical that the kickstart scheme is used to increase entry into this sector; and equally critical that entry is inclusive and available to young women from all backgrounds”.

The Catalyst Change Summit replaces the usual bootcamp that was due to take place this summer

The Catalyst Summit, launched on Thursday, July 8, replaces the usual summer bootcamp that aims to empower and support girls and women through skills training, support and mentoring. The online event has meant the CIC has been able to double its reach and has seen Bristol delegates joined by others from as far afield as France, Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Speakers for the first day included City to Sea founder, author and environmental campaigner Natalie Fee and Green councillor Carla Denyer, who was recently named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2020 by the Women’s Engineering Society.

The summit is bringing together young women from diverse backgrounds and working with them to identify their passions, strengths and purpose, and inspire them to see how their educational and career paths can be directed towards building a better future.

They will explore questions such as:

  • What if the world really were equal and fair for everyone?
  • What if everyone was committed to addressing climate change?
  • What if I had the confidence and skills to help make that change?

Traci Lewis, co-founder and director of Catalyse Change adds: “Due to covid, young women are currently facing an uncertain future, with internships cancelled and work hard to find. The Catalyst Summit is designed to help support them during this difficult time, providing them with positivity, and confidence, along with useful skills and experience to help them in their education and careers.

“In addition to the summit itself, each young woman will be assigned to a mentor who will support their education and career journey over the coming six months. We are also working with organisations to be able to increase the amount of work experience available. We hope the chancellor’s announcement will mean that we can work with our partners to provide traineeships in the social and environmental sector.”

The summit continues online on July 15 and 22.

There needs to be more paid, entry level jobs in the environmental sector

All photos by Beth Rowling

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