Monday, 15 March 2010

The proof is in the pudding!

Katie takes part in the second DECC Youth Advisory Panel pilot session.

DECC's commitment to young people and our futures was truly established for me a week ago, as I was invited to attend the second pilot session for the Youth Advisory Panel. The fact that DECC are willing to give up almost an entire day to listen to what young people have to say and assure us that the Youth Advisory Panel is a priority for the current Government really fills me with hope.

The day kicked off bright and early, with a lengthy discussion about the purpose of the panel, how the panel members would be selected, the role of individual members and how DECC can support us, and these ideas were then presented to Ed Miliband. Whilst the details are still to be confirmed, here are the key messages that I took away from the day:

The DECC Youth Panel represents the youth voice to DECC, particularly in ensuring the long term impacts of policy are sound, safe and agreed to by the future generation. It aims to:

  • Hold DECC accountable to youth stakeholders
  • Advise on how to work with and engage young people
  • Where appropriate, and where agreed by the youth panel, to proactively engage with wider youth audiences

In the afternoon we discussed DECC's Consultation on Skills for the Low Carbon Economy, which is looking at the skills needed to meet the UK's targets for 2020 (reduction of 34% in greenhouse gas emissions) and for 2050 (reduction in at least 80% in greenhouse gas emissions). Key areas of the economy that were identified include:

  • Decarbonising power
  • Decarbonising transport
  • Decarbonising buildings, construction
  • Decarbonising supply chains across the entire economy
  • Climate change adaptation

Our discussion mainly focused on the need to encourage more young people to choose a low-carbon career. We learnt from David Kidney that there will be up to 70,000 jobs available in the wind industry alone, and therefore teachers and career advisors have a key role to play in getting this sort of information across and telling young people that there is a long-term, sustainable and worthwhile career in helping Britain's transition into a low carbon economy.

The DECC Youth Panel will not meet again until after the General Election, providing that the party that wins still gives the panel a thumbs up. But until then, we're all busy drafting reports from the meeting and making the most of our newly established connections with young climate leaders from across the country!

Katie x