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‘The strength and resilience of the green economy will come from having diverse voices around the table’

May 10, 2021

Ahmed looking at the camera, in front of docks and a body of water

Ahmed Mohammed Moola attended PLT Canada’s “Green Jobs are for Everyone” Workshop Series and Career Connections Fair in March. He is from Johannesburg, South Africa, and has been a permanent resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, since 2021. Moola has a Bachelor of Science in Property Studies and a Master of Science in Real Estate. Moola was recently interviewed about the “Green Jobs are for Everyone” Workshop Series by PLT Canada’s Senior Coordinator of Youth Network and Mentorship, Maria Chiarella.

The Q&A has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Why were you interested in PLT Canada’s “Green Jobs are for Everyone” Workshop Series? 

A: I am passionate about the intersection between business and environmental sustainability, and I was really encouraged by the fact that there was a session dedicated to newcomer youth interested in getting involved in the sustainability space.

Around 2015, I got interested in green buildings. That’s when I started doing more research into the circular economy and reclaiming and reusing the components of buildings. I did courses in the Netherlands and completed a Green Building Accreditation course. 

Q: Why is it important to make Green Jobs accessible to everyone? 

A: In the future, all jobs will be Green Jobs because every job will have some elements or deliverables linked to sustainability or minimizing harm to the environment. Until then, there needs to be a greater focus on getting people involved and excited about these careers. Like in every sector, the strength and resilience of the green economy will come from having diverse voices around the table, so we need to ensure everyone has access to Green Jobs.

Q: Can you tell me about some of the challenges you see when it comes to creating an inclusive green workforce? Can you identify any gaps?

A: I am accredited, but my accreditations aren’t recognized in Canada. It would be good to have free programs that could offer refreshers on the courses. Organizations should actively seek minorities or newcomer youth, to hire people that aren’t already in the space. It would also allow people to get paid internships—because some people can’t afford to volunteer for six months, so they can’t participate. 

Q: Why do you think workshops like PLT Canada’s “Green Jobs are for Everyone” are important? 

A: They allow you to create a network. The career fair was revolutionary. The networking was amazing. I was able to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends. 

Q: What were some of the key takeaways for you? 

A: An awareness of diverse roles and opportunities in the green space, particularly for someone who doesn’t come from an environmental major. For example, I heard that BC Parks has a finance department; that was cool for me. Also, I learned about grants and funding in the sector, which I didn’t know about until the webinars.

Q: Do you have any advice for employers about being more inclusive in their hiring process?

A: Organizations should make a conscious effort to use PLT Canada Green Jobs funding to hire diverse youth. The more diverse the decision makers around the table are, the stronger the outcomes will be.

Identify where the communities are—then you can reach out to community programs at the school or university level. Present at those places—discuss what your company does and what opportunities exist. Companies probably do this already, but not in these community spaces.

Q: Do you have any advice for diverse youth on how they can join the green sector?

A: Research, network, and volunteer when economically possible. That’s how you are going to build yourself up. There are lots of tools and resources available, but no one will give you the opportunities; you have to do the work to get known in the space, understand who the key players are, and try to show your interest and your passion. The research component is more about learning what education, accreditation, and funding is available or required. You also might want to find someone to advise you. 

Watch the youth and employer learning sessions below:

       

    

    

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