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S2 Green Careers Event
In response to successive IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports about the impacts of Climate Change, and last year’s research findings about an emerging green workforce that understands more about sustainability (Deloite & IEMA, 2022), the Geography Department organised and facilitated Heriot’s inaugural ‘Green Careers Event’. This exciting event brought together twenty-five external guest speakers from twenty organisations, including the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, Dynamic Earth, Astrosat, Baillie Gifford, ERM, Artemis, Zero Waste Scotland, Esri UK, McGowan Environmental Engineering, Topolytics, Engineers Without Borders (Glasgow), and Ooni Pizza Ovens. Their presentations and ‘speed networking’ activity demonstrated how every organisation – regardless of sector – needs to consider sustainability.
The day’s programme was launched by TV presenter Dallas Campbell who encouraged pupils to be curious and pursue what they love. Dallas also highlighted the importance of sustainability, creativity, innovation and problem-solving in all organisations and sectors. He discussed the potential of Hydrogen to reduce our society’s dependence on fossil fuels, which he has been learning more about while filming a new series for Amazon Prime and YouTube.
Andrew Fournet from Astrosat demonstrated how satellite data can help to solve the world’s most pressing environmental, social and economic problems, including deforestation, water pollution, poverty, and mental health issues. Andrew also talked about the power of this technology to help to hold people accountable for their actions and he discussed the growing recognition of sustainability in the Space sector. He ended by highlighting the vast number of jobs available in the sector: you do not necessarily have to be an astrophysicist!
The vital role of education in protecting the planet was highlighted by the next two speakers. Dr Hermione Cockburn talked about her varied and interesting career and the importance of scientific understanding of our planet. Hermione’s presentation was followed by Professor Dave Reay who highlighted the people and skills gap in crucial sectors, including energy, transport and buildings. He gave examples of people who had pioneered innovative solutions to community issues in Ethiopia, Namibia and India, and encouraged pupils to make a positive difference to the planet.
During a speed networking activity, pupils had the opportunity to speak to several business representatives, and their feedback cards detailed the huge amount they learned and the inspiration they had gained from speakers. There was a real buzz in the hall, and speakers commented on how engaged and well-informed the pupils were.
The event ended with a panel discussion during which speakers highlighted both the importance of sustainability and doing what you love. Mr Fairclough received the most questions as pupils were keen to hear more about sustainability strategy and policy at Heriot’s.
Feedback from contributors and pupils was overwhelmingly positive and we would like to thank everyone who helped make the event such a success.