Orientation day for environmental professions
Green businesses are looking for environmentally aware recruits and vice versa – the Green Day brings them together.
At a glance
During their career orientation phase, teens often overlook the diverse career opportunities in ecology and climate action. On the other hand, medium-sized companies in the environmental sector are looking for ways to increase their public profile, and that of their technologies and products, and also to find qualified young trainees. With that in mind, the foundation Zeitbild Stiftung, with funding from the National Climate Initiative (NCI) of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) came up with the idea of the Green Day. The goal was to link up students with companies, universities and research organizations in the world of environmental protection and climate action for a day and to highlight career opportunities.
Green jobs and career opportunities
The project Green Day, the first nationwide orientation day focussing on work and study opportunities in the field of climate action and environmental protection, was set up in 2012. Since then, schoolchildren from grade eight to thirteen have had the chance every year in mid-November to find out more about careers, research fields and concrete job opportunities. So far, hundreds of events have been held in companies and lecture rooms, involving more than ten thousand students. The term Green Day was selected in conscious analogy to the well-known ‘Zukunftstage’ (future days) for boys and girls – the Girls’ Day for the so-called MINT professions (mathematics, IT, natural sciences and technology) and the Boys’ Day for occupations in which less than 40 percent of men work.
Suitable placement via a targeted personal approach
The key task for the Zeitbild Stiftung as the organiser of the Green Day every year was to bring together visitors with providers. Thousands of contacts in many different companies, research institutes or universities were personally invited by phone or e-mail to participate in the events. In parallel, it was important to publicise the environmental careers day in schools. Here, the foundation took advantage of personal contacts in the publishing world and sent out brochures with thematically appropriate teaching materials. The host companies were also offered didactic advice to help them with the event implementation. Moreover, many important institutions – such as the Federation of Employers (BDA) and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH) – were recruited as cooperation partners. Representatives from these associations were also members of the steering group that supported the Green Day as an advisory board.
A website to raise the public profile
An important organisational backbone of the Green Day is the Internet site. Here, companies, universities and colleges are able to present their events. It allows schools to find the appropriate offers. Teachers and their charges can register to participate. A map of Germany provides an overview of all activities. In the background, an address database with well over six thousand entries supports smooth communication between all parties.
The start of Green Day in 2012 was marked by a ceremony at a Berlin gas turbine plant with a speech by Federal Environment Minister Peter Altmaier. Since then, the annual Green Day has been advertised with intense publicity in the general press and specialist publications, radio, television, the Internet, social media and at trade shows. The cooperation partners, especially the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts, the German Association of the Automotive Industry and the German Horticultural Association, also provide information for Green Day via their own channels, thus helping to reach even more companies.
What were the project goals?
- The Green Day was conceived to provide schoolchildren from grade eight to thirteen insights into careers and degree programmes in environmental protection and climate action.
- The idea was to bring companies (especially from the SME sector and the crafts), universities and research institutions together with potential junior staff or students.
What did the project achieve?
- Over the two years, a total of 320 events were held in all 16 German states.
- Around 6,800 students from over 300 schools registered for Green Day events.
- In addition, 22,000 teachers were given printed educational materials that can be used in different classes.
- Over the two years, a total of 292 events were held across the country.
- Around 6,300 students from over 370 schools attended the events.
- About half of the students expressed an interest in learning a trade at one of the companies or organisations visited or taking a higher education course in the field.
What happened next?
- The Green Day still takes place every year in mid-November.
- Information for schools and providers can be viewed on the project website: www.greendaydeutschland.de.
Contribution to climate action
Green Day does not lead to any direct CO2 savings. But it strengthens Germany’s position as an innovation hub in environmental technologies and services that are necessary for climate action, and thus creates the necessary conditions for a green transformation.
“In the future, every job will be a green job.” Dr Udo Niehage, Siemens AG board representative for the German Energy Transition at the launch event for Green Day 2012
Checklist for success
For interested schools:
- Early registration allows an appropriate selection of employers and/or places of study.
- Schools or classes can sign up with their wishes via the website.
- Schools should designate a contact person for the Green Day.
- Educational materials developed by Zeitbild Stiftung support the preparation and review of the environmental careers day.
For event hosts:
- The Green Day provides a good opportunity for press and public relations work.
- The Green Day team can assist in the description and preparations for an event.
- Specific materials to improve the appeal of the event for disadvantaged children are available on the project website: www.greendaydeutschland.de.
In its first four years, from 2012 to 2015, the Green Day showed its inherent potential. More than 400 universities, research institutions, government agencies, educational institutions, corporations and small businesses offered more than 600 different Green Day events in the first two years, and more than 7,000 students from more than 300 schools took part. This way schools recognise and promote interests at an early stage. Green Day can help the pupils from secondary, intermediate, special, comprehensive and grammar schools with their subsequent choice of profession. They find out, at an early stage, about professions and fields of study that they perhaps did not know about or they would not have otherwise considered. This early direct contact with companies and universities also opens up opportunities for internships. These can help young people to try out their own skills and talents and recognise potential and possibilities. Educational materials developed by Zeitbild Stiftung support the preparation and review of the environmental careers day.
Organisational information for schools
The annual event date is set in the middle of November because during this time there are no school holidays nationwide. Registering is very simple: a fax reply form provides all necessary information to the Green Day organisers. Interested teachers can enter their schools or classes with their specific wishes but also easily on their own initiative via the website. Early registration is important. This allows the best-suited employers or educational institutions to be selected. To make the processing of Green Day easier, schools should elect a specific contact person for the topic.
Businesses, colleges and universities can all benefit in many ways
The Green Day also offers many opportunities for companies, colleges and universities. First contacts are established with future trainees, professionals, and students. Lesser-known professions and study fields are put into the spotlight. Among them are many that most people would not necessarily associate with the climate and environment. Long-term partnerships can be established between schools and businesses. Finally, the Green Day is ideally suited for press and public relations work. On Green Day, companies can present their commitment to environmental and climate action to the general public, for example by inviting local media representatives or issuing press releases.
Organisational information for companies, colleges and universities
The Green Day team is there to help all potential event hosts. It provides help with the description and preparation for the event being offered via the website. Smaller companies with little experience in the implementation of vocational orientation days can also get valuable tips for planning and implementation. For Green Day 2015, a leaflet was designed with recommendations on how better to approach disadvantaged young people. The information it contains on event structuring and processing almost constitutes a general educational guide. The ideas on how to present professions and courses in the most exciting and interesting way possible are equally valid for all students!