Press release


An initiative designed to create green jobs for East London citizens will be launched at an event on 22nd September 2011. The East London Green Jobs Alliance, supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, hopes to bring a different type of demonstration to the area, in an attempt to set a model for future initiatives around the UK and beyond.

The East London Green Jobs Alliance aims to provide a training pipeline for young, unemployed people in the five Olympic boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Greenwich. A coalition of trade unions, NGOs, community based organisations and green businesses are being led by The Otesha Project UK; a youth-led charity based in the area, and Unionlearn, the union for lifelong learning.

Liz McDowell, Project Director for Otesha said, “In line with the Swahili meaning of Otesha, we are looking to offer young people who face barriers to employment reason to dream. The current events within East London give us a greater drive to give a groundbreaking demonstration of what is possible in helping reduce youth unemployment in the area.”

The Alliance’s Greener Jobs pipeline project provides an exciting opportunity for young people to improve their skills in a multitude of areas, including financial and environmental literacy. Successful applicants will also take part in an apprenticeship placement in the green sector.

The development of this pilot project is supported by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation UK. Andrew Barnett, UK Director said: “An important focus of our environment work in the UK over the last two years has been to support research into strategies to grow a greener, more inclusive economy. We are delighted that the Alliance is taking forward the recommendations of this research – and in our own backyard in East London. We hope that its Greener Jobs Pipeline project will begin to address a pressing local need and create a tested, grassroots model for growing the green economy which can be replicated more widely.”

Hanna Thomas, Lead Organiser of the Alliance said, “We are really thrilled to be offering young people in East London such a positive future. We have a diverse range of organisations that are committed to stimulating the local green economy and improving opportunities for local people. This launch is just the beginning.”


The East London Green Jobs Alliance is a coalition of trade unions, NGOs, community based organisations and green businesses working together to create green and decent jobs for East London citizens. Starting within the five boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest and Greenwich, the Alliance seeks to stimulate the local green economy and provide training and job opportunities for local people – especially the young and unemployed. More information

The Otesha Project UK is a youth-led charity that mobilises young people to create social and environmental change through their everyday actions. They work with young people aged 14-28 from a diversity of backgrounds. Through their cycle tours and other educational projects they train, support and network youth leaders as they educate thousands of others, reaching over 18,000 beneficiaries in England, Wales and Scotland to date. More information

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is an international charitable foundation with cultural, educational, social and scientific interests.  Based in Lisbon with offices in London and Paris, the Foundation is in a privileged position to support national and transnational work tackling contemporary issues in Europe. The purpose of the UK Branch in London is to connect and enrich the experiences of individuals in the UK and Ireland and secure lasting beneficial change. We have a special interest in supporting those who are most disadvantaged. One of our core aims is to promote effective strategies to help green the economy. For further information please go to

Unionlearn aims to help unions to become learning organisations, with programmes for union reps and regional officers and strategic support for national officers.

For further information contact:

Hanna Thomas                                                0207 377 2109 / 07710 405 998


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