Empowering Youth Through Carbon Management Training for Canada’s Net Zero Economy


Sacha Noukhovitch, MSM, PhD, OCT

STEM Fellowship


Malaika Arif, BCom

STEM Fellowship

Project Analyst

Headshot of a caucasian grey-haired man
Disclaimer: The French version of this editorial has been auto-translated and has not been approved by the author.

As businesses strive to innovate and modernize to secure their place in Canada’s Net Zero economy, the demand for skilled professionals in carbon analytics and management is set to surge. To meet this growing demand, Canada must cultivate a workforce that is both environmentally conscious and technically proficient. Canadian youth represent a valuable, yet underutilized, resource in this regard. However, they face unique challenges, including higher levels of social isolation and unemployment. To harness the potential of young Canadians, targeted initiatives like the Carbon Management Training for Youth program are essential.

In Canada, there are approximately 7 million youth between the ages of 15 and 30. This demographic has experienced significant hardships, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate among youth aged 15 to 19 saw a sharp increase of 9.3% in 2021, far outpacing the overall unemployment rate. The pandemic not only affected employment rates but also exacerbated pre-existing inequalities, particularly among equity-seeking groups and youth facing systemic barriers. About one-third (27%) of Canadian youth belong to these vulnerable groups.

The Carbon Management Training for Youth program offers a strategic solution to bridge the qualification and experience gap that many young people face. This gap often prevents them from taking on evidence-based environmental roles and accessing emerging low-carbon job opportunities. The program aims to provide interdisciplinary apprenticeships in low-carbon energy and carbon management, enabling participants to learn and adopt industry-standard practices.

To ensure the inclusivity and effectiveness of the program, additional wraparound supports will be provided. These supports are designed to reduce barriers to participation, particularly for individuals from equity-seeking groups and those facing systemic challenges. By offering technical training, hands-on experience, and certification programs, the initiative aims to equip young Canadians with the skills necessary to pursue careers in low-carbon energy and carbon management.

One of the key components of the program is its focus on practical experience. This will be achieved through a combination of apprenticeships, internships, mentorship programs, and job placement services. These opportunities will allow participants to acquire and refine their skills in real-world settings, thereby enhancing their employability and career prospects. Furthermore, the program will establish clear pathways for career development, helping individuals transition into or advance within the low-carbon energy and carbon management sectors.

The benefits of such a program are multifaceted. For businesses, it means access to a pool of well-trained, motivated young professionals who can drive innovation and sustainability efforts. For the youth, it represents a chance to develop valuable skills, gain practical experience, and build meaningful careers in a growing field. Moreover, for society as a whole, it fosters an environmentally conscious and skilled workforce capable of addressing the challenges of the future.

To ensure the success of the Carbon Management Training for Youth program, it is crucial to secure support from various stakeholders, including government agencies, educational institutions, and industry leaders. Government backing can provide the necessary funding and policy framework to facilitate the program’s implementation. Educational institutions can contribute by integrating carbon management and low-carbon energy topics into their curricula and offering accreditation for program participants. Industry leaders, on the other hand, can provide apprenticeship opportunities, mentorship, and job placements, ensuring that the training is aligned with current industry needs and standards.

The potential impact of the Carbon Management Training for Youth program extends beyond immediate job creation and skill development. It represents a proactive approach to addressing climate change and sustainability challenges by empowering the next generation of leaders. By equipping young Canadians with the knowledge and skills to manage carbon and energy sustainably, we are investing in a future where innovation and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.

In conclusion, the Carbon Management Training for Youth program is a timely and necessary initiative that addresses both the employment challenges faced by young Canadians and the urgent need for a skilled workforce in the low-carbon economy. By providing comprehensive training, practical experience, and support, the program can help bridge the gap between education and employment, fostering a generation of environmentally conscious professionals ready to lead Canada towards a sustainable future. It is an investment in our youth, our economy, and our planet, and one that promises significant returns for all stakeholders involved.