Three more universities vow to end on campus fossil fuel recruitment

Three more universities vow to end on campus fossil fuel
Three more universities vow to end on campus fossil fuel recruitment

University of Bedfordshire, University of the Arts London and Wrexham Glyndwr University become latest institutions to adopt 'Ethical Careers Policy'

With the annual 'milk round' of graduate recruitment fairs in full swing, fossil fuel firms are finding their options are narrowing.

The oil and gas industry has long complained that it is finding it harder to attract the best and brightest engineering talent, as graduates look to exercise their preference for jobs in fast-expanding clean tech sectors. But now the industry is facing further challenges as a campaign to stop fossil fuel recruitment on campuses continues to build momentum.

This week student-led campaigning charity People & Planet announced three more UK universities have ended fossil fuel industry recruitment on their campuses. The University of Bedfordshire, University of the Arts London, and Wrexham Glyndwr University have all adopted an 'Ethical Careers Policy' that explicitly excludes oil, gas, and mining industries from holding recruitment relationships with their careers services.

The news comes after Birkbeck, University of London announced in September that it had become the first university in the UK to end fossil fuel industry recruitment on campus.

"All three of these universities should be recognised for their climate leadership, being early adopters of Fossil Free Careers sets a strong precedent in the UK's higher education sector," said J Clarke, co-director of climate campaigns at People & Planet. "It is vital that our universities show with actions, not words that they are taking the side of climate justice, and not of the industries driving us deeper into a climate crisis that is harming the least responsible first and worst."

Lynda Powell, executive director of operations, at Wrexham Glyndwr University said the new policy was in line with the university's plans to both bolster its environmental performance and support future generations in securing "appropriate and meaningful employment".

"We are supporting the development of a sustainable work force for the future, coupled with taking ambitious steps to achieve the Welsh Government target of net zero for the public sector by 2030," she said.

The Fossil Free Careers campaign has secured backing from growing numbers of staff and students, including official endorsements from the UK's largest student and staff bodies in the form of the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU).

In related news, trade body SolarPower Europe this week launched its new #SolarWorks Platform, the first online recruitment tool dedicated to solar.

Debuted at the group's first annual virtual SolarWorksFair, the online platform aims to provide a "one-stop-shop for future solar workers and recruiters" that can match applicants to relevant roles or training programmes. 

The launch comes alongside a new report from the trade body, which details how delivering on the EU's renewable energy targets for 2030 will require at least 1.1 million solar workers by 2030.

Registrations are now open and free for solar companies, job seekers, education and training providers, the group said, with solar firms in Europe and beyond welcome to create a company profile and upload their latest open vacancies. 

"There are set to be millions of solar career opportunities in Europe: as many as one million European jobs by 2026 - that's 50 per cent more than we have right now," said Walburga Hemetsberger, CEO at SolarPower Europe. "With the #SolarWorks Platform, we are taking crucial step in building a skilled solar workforce for Europe, and ensuring a skills gap doesn't hold back the energy transition."

The new service was also welcomed by the EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, who said: "We need massive and urgent investment in people's skills, as well as skills mapping and job matching. So, I very much welcome the #SolarWorks Platform… This is exactly the kind of practical initiative which will bring tangible results in the sector, both for companies and for job seekers. Young people looking to start their career can use the platform to hone their skills, and find good job opportunities."

* This article was originally published here