Universities should offer more degree courses focused on waste management and pollution, as there is a lack of skilled graduates available to “get their hands dirty”, according to a waste management firm.
BusinessWaste.co.uk said there are not enough young people with sufficient knowledge of pollution and waste management, and that higher education institutions should offer more courses in these areas.
Many universities currently offer postgraduate courses in subjects like environmental quality, environmental engineering or waste and resource management, but there are very few – if any – at the undergraduate level.
Spokesperson for BusinessWaste.co.uk Mark Hall said, “The UK is at a crucial point in its efforts to cut back on waste. But there are pitifully few young people emerging from our colleges with suitable qualifications.
“Most academic efforts on climate change are being pushed toward global solutions. However, we still need people with the skills to deal with policy and solutions at national and local levels.”
Hall said that there was a lack of young entrepreneurs able to turn waste into profit in the sector. He added, “There are engineering skills involved here, and degrees that offer both these specific skills coupled with environmental awareness will help in one of the UK’s largest growth areas.
“The same goes for biomass. Energy from organic waste is a growth sector, and the industry needs bright minds to help it grow even faster.”
Each year, student organisation People & Planet ranks universities according to their focus on ethics and sustainability. Known as the Green League, Manchester Metropolitan University was named the UK’s greenest university last time around.
Speaking to Blue & Green Tomorrow, Green League manager Hannah Smith said, “There are UK academics chomping at the bit to see the pedagogy of sustainability education burst into fruition no matter what the discipline.
“It’s good to hear business come out and ask, ‘Where are the graduates with environmental awareness woven into their studies?’ It seems to me that the students are ready, academics are ready and business is waiting… we must be at the tipping point.”
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