The government’s current target of millions of new apprenticeships is certainly one way of supporting the next generation so that they can learn and earn but more is still needed to bridge the gap between school and industry. In this area CAB has continued to actively support ‘Your Green Future’ (organised by Severn Wye Energy Agency), a series of interactive events which bring about engagement between a wide range of professionals and young people to inspire 14-19 year olds with the range of jobs, skills and qualifications available in the green economy.
The events involve a mixture of activities including workshops, exhibitions and participation in a mock ‘Dragon’s Den’ involving new sustainable products. Crucially ‘Your Green Future’ introduces students to key low carbon sustainable issues. We have now engaged with over 3,000 young people since the beginning of 2014 at events held at educational venues throughout Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, West Midlands and Bristol. At each event CAB has been able to highlight aluminium’s sustainability credentials and building on their existing knowledge of aluminium’s physical characteristics from school projects and general knowledge. We have been able to show graphically how reforestation takes place after mining to highlight how the aluminium industry takes care to minimise environmental impact. Structured question and answer sessions have also lead to focusing on the opportunities of working within the aluminium industry and manufacturing in general.
There is no doubt that young people are becoming more aware of the importance of material recycling and they asked some challenging questions about what the aluminium sector is doing to improve year on year. Many had visited the new Wembley Stadium but were intrigued that 92% of all the aluminium actually removed from the old Stadium had been fully recycled – in many other deconstructions this figure has been a lot nearer to 100%.
However, far more than just the sustainability angle – there has been the opportunity to get young people to think positively about the fenestration sector in general and to recognise the skills that are required throughout the supply chain to manufacture products that we take for granted and are all around us. A great example of this for them were the aluminium automatic doors they entered for the Bristol event with products produced by 2 CAB member companies. Recent events have taken place in May 2015 at University of West of England (Bristol) and in June 2015 at Gloucestershire University (Cheltenham), where gave the opening keynote address to over 300 young people aged 12 to 18 year olds.