Podcast Power in the City Episode 5: From 9 to 5?

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This episode is about the grind, the toil, the sweat, the slog, the graft, the duty – and things like skills and craft, commitment and creativity. Yes, it’s about work! The green kind. It’s about working in the energy transition. What exactly is a green job? How do I get myself one of those? What motivates folks who have one? And is it the same as a good job? Join us as we talk to people that hold green jobs and those that create the conditions for more of us to have one. 

To be honest this subject has become so interesting and we got so excited by all the brilliant interviews people did, that we ended up making this last episode of our Oldham season into a back-to-back bonanza of two (shorter!) parts.

Image: Trailar solar panels for vehicles

There are official definitions of green jobs, they are the ones that help us move away from fossil fuels and protect our natural resources. You will hear from brilliant people who work in these spaces and train others to join them. Their work is fascinating and we get a real sense of excitement and pride to be taking an active part in mitigating climate change. They talk about innovation, dedication and skill and doing stuff we love to do. 

Image: Brandon Denny

As we talk more with people though, we realise that it is not always going smoothly and that there are some quite fundamental stumbling blocks on the path to a greener future. So maybe, we find out, this is about more than just swapping in the ‘green’ to the otherwise business-as-usual. And maybe, just maybe this big crisis could be about an opportunity to reconsider what we value and how we care for each other. Like how, you ask? Well, have a listen and judge for yourself.  

Image: Oldham College training room with air source heat pump

Mumin shares his joy about getting a job straight out of uni and a green one at that! Mike is a little sad that he is retiring after 30 years in the electricity industry – just as it is getting exciting. Helen from Electricity North West explains how her green job helps her to keep the worries at bay and gives her the opportunity to help people shine. We hear more from B4Box and find out about the importance of a properly paid apprenticeship and Tom from Oldham Community College shares his excitement about training the next generations of plumbers and electricians in sustainable practices. We learn about the connection between valuing manual workers and averting climate catastrophe and we talk about how much more central care – both as a profession and as a value – should be to our efforts in creating better and more just futures.

Image: Orianne Landers and Mark Cox from B4Box

In part 2 we make the jump to consider the wider economy and you will hear from one of Oldham’s most innovative start-ups in the low carbon space and how local businesses are an integral part of the progressive environmental and economic vision Oldham Council has for the borough. Andy Hunt is back to discuss the Oldham Green New Deal and how the energy transition can create real opportunities for the local economy, for businesses, jobs, training and community well-being. And Antonia from CLES – the national organisation for local economies – gives us a whistle-stop tour of community wealth building and how Preston has managed to keep millions of pounds circulating locally by supporting local businesses to take on local contracts.

It gets quite philosophical at some points, but not to worry, Alex has somehow managed to take over the host seat and he is keeping the tent firmly pitched in the ground (or something like that).

Image: Electricity North West

Episode credits

Power in the City is produced by Carbon Coop.
This episode was written and produced by Alex King.
Host: Britt Jurgensen  
Local research & interviews: Melissa Kelly Shore
Sound design & post production: Barry Han

Interviews with:
Ibrahim Hoque, OBA Millennium Centre Oldham
Aileen McDonnell, Mark Cox and Orianne Landers, B4Box 
Clare Rainsford, Onward Homes
Jonathan Atkinson, Carbon Coop

Power in the City is funded by the Electricity North West Powering our Communities Fund, ICLEI Action Fund and UCL Grand Challenges.

Find out more

Green and brown job creation
Climate Change Committee investment prognosis

Learning and Training
Oldham College
People Powered Retrofit
Retrofit Academy
Centre for Alternative Technology

Oldham and GM plans
Oldham Green New Deal
Greater Manchester Green Sector Mapping

Commmunity Wealth Building, Green New Deal and other progressive economic models
CLES – the national organisation for local economics
New Economics Foundation
Green New Deal UK
Donate Economics
Green New Deal Media – podcast by Lucy and Alex

The bigger picture
Case studies social housing excellence and collaboration
Zero Carbon Britain Hub Future Scenario 
Carbon Brief – impartial information on climate change and policy

Artwork by Roy McCarthy