The inaugural Meet the Youth Session: “Green Jobs and Sustainability – What does it mean to you?” took place on 13 August 2016 at the NTUC Centre. This session, organised by the Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), and supported by Young NTUC, hosted important discussions about the green profession, skills relevant to the field, and internship opportunities for the youth. This event attracted some 80 youth participants from those that are still in school, to those that are searching for a career change.
The session kicked off with an overview on the green job landscape in Singapore and what the concept truly means. Subsequently, a panel of green careered trailblazers were invited onto a panel discussion to share about their own personal journeys in the people, private and public sector respectively, and what are the realities that one will face when charting their own green career in these sectors.
The panelists consist of the following:
· Ms Kia Jiehui, Senior Sustainability Advisor, Asia Pacific (Singapore), Forum for the Future
· Ms Edris Boey, Sustainability & Compliance Manager, Hong Leong Asia Ltd
· Mr Bay Meng Yi, Assistant Director (Clean Land), Environmental Protection Policy Department, National Environment Agency
Ms Kia shared that she finds there is an overwhelming energy and optimism surrounding sustainability in Asia, which will likely continue to boost the regional green jobs market. Through an honest sharing of her own career journey, Ms Boey emphasised the importance of self-discovery, perseverance and continuous learning to develop a green vocation. From a public policy perspective, Mr Bay shared that policy development is a collaborative and consultative process, and is informed by the noise from the ground.
Here are some of the insights that were captured during the panel discussion on those who would like to start their green careers or make mid-career switches: 1. Develop skillsets that are complementary to their green skill: e.g. marketing, audit
2. Opportunities are abound for individuals looking to develop a green career, and it may be wise to also consider regional opportunities
3. Learn how to package their knowledge by showing how they converted their learning into applying it to something tangible
4. Volunteer for a cause they are passionate about, and go deep rather than broad to build the relevant experiences and network
Concluding the morning was a breakout activity called “Youth Speak”. This is where participants provided their thoughts to these questions listed below (along with the more popular suggestions). Representatives from the audience also presented these ideas to the room.
1. What is the kind of policies that should be in place to help facilitate green employment?
2. What is the kind of training they would like to have to prepare them for green employment?
3. What kind of companies would they like to intern with?
4. If there is a youth event on CSR and Corporate Sustainability, what is the best way to reach out to and engage the youth?
The event concluded successfully with an informal networking session where the youth interacted with the speakers and met other like-minded friends.