Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

We have all seen significant shifts in our lives over the past year – in the way that we work, travel and shop. While all of us are waiting for the return of a bit of normality, we are starting to realise that the world may never return to the way it once was.

One of the biggest impacts we have seen from the pandemic has been on jobs – many people are now facing redundancies and Wales is expected to remain in a state of economic shock. We believe that, in responding to the current pandemic, Wales can rebuild in a way that restores nature, tackles climate change and supports the country’s economic recovery as well.

Green jobs for a green recovery

This is why, as part of our 5 Steps to a Green Recovery, we have been working on ensuring that an investment in green jobs becomes a core part the country’s response to this economic crisis. Last summer, in the midst of the first lockdown, we talked about how an investment in green jobs could help rebuild a Wales in which people and the planet can recover together.

Green jobs would provide new opportunities for those currently facing the risk of unemployment, while also helping to restore our natural environment and tackle climate change. In Wales, rural and coastal areas are most likely to see the highest impact of unemployment, while those in low income work, especially young people, will be disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic. With the right support, green jobs could provide employment opportunities and help address these inequalities and establish a future focused greener workforce that addresses nature and climate needs.

National Nature Service

Last year, Natural Resources Wales identified a National Nature Service as a priority action for a Green Recovery. Over the past few months, we have been working with partners and other organisations to develop a National Nature Service for Wales that would provide employment opportunities in nature restoration and sustainable land management.  

Our Estimating the Scale Report has estimated that a National Nature Service could support almost 7,000 direct full-time jobs in Wales. This kind of scheme – or service – could help, for example, to provide a whole suite of environmental work that would benefit people and nature.

From creating new woodlands, building natural flood defences, providing spaces for people to exercise outdoors and engage with nature and restoring and reconnecting habitats on both land and sea. This would help lock in carbon to help tackle climate change and would ultimately allow wildlife to thrive.

Green jobs in sustainable land management could support local food chains and help make sure our food system is more resilient for future crisis. In this way, a National Nature Service would ensure that nature remains at the heart of our green recovery from Covid-19. while also providing the first step towards tackling the nature and climate emergency and start a shift towards and a greener Wales.

But we need to ensure that those most affected by the pandemic, both those facing unemployment, as well as young people are at the forefront of this transition. Providing inclusive training opportunities to develop both green skills as well as more transferable skills will ensure that our response to the pandemic will have a positive impact for many years to come.

You can hear more about what other partners and young people think about creating green jobs in Wales in our Green Recovery Podcast.