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Groundwork x ESS 

Groundwork & Environmental Services & Solutions Expo: Supporting more young people into green careers together.

Welcome to an exciting collaboration between Groundwork and the Environmental Services & Solutions Expo (ESS Expo), united in a shared mission to pave the way toward sustainable development. Groundwork, a national charity, leads the charge in mobilising community-driven action to tackle poverty and environmental challenges across the UK. With a vision rooted in creating a fair, green future, Groundwork empowers communities to transform their environments into thriving, sustainable spaces.

The ESS Expo stands as the premier platform in the environmental services industry, bringing together professionals, innovators, and thought leaders committed to sustainability and achieving net-zero goals. By offering a unique confluence of networking, knowledge exchange, and collaborative opportunities, ESS Expo addresses the pressing environmental challenges of our time, fostering a space for ground-breaking solutions and advancements.

Partnership Overview

In an exciting new venture, Groundwork and ESS Expo have joined forces to confront the burgeoning skills gap in the green jobs sector, with a focus on empowering the next generation to pursue careers that protect and rejuvenate our planet. This partnership is poised to cast a spotlight on the critical demand for skilled professionals in fields such as waste and recycling, water resource management, renewable energy, and environmental consulting.

Through a series of events and outreach initiatives set to unfold throughout 2024, including the ESS Expo on 11-12 September at the NEC Birmingham, this collaboration aims to nurture green talent, break down employment barriers, and spotlight sustainability education. The partnership strives to ensure that green infrastructure and low carbon jobs are not only accessible but also an appealing prospect for young individuals eager to contribute to a more sustainable future. Together, Groundwork and ESS Expo are committed to future-proofing the workforce of tomorrow, setting the stage for a greener, more resilient world.

Partnership Themes

The collaboration between Groundwork and the Environmental Services & Solutions Expo is driven by a series of strategic themes designed to address the urgent needs of the environmental sector and to inspire a new generation to take the helm of sustainability efforts. Here are the key objectives of this transformative partnership:

  • Skills Development in Key Environmental Sectors: Prioritise the development of critical skills in areas pivotal to our planet's health, including waste management and recycling, water conservation, renewable energy solutions, and environmental consulting. This focus aims to equip individuals and businesses with the knowledge and capabilities needed to innovate and sustain the environmental services industry.

  • Promotion of Green Careers Among Youth: Amplify the appeal and visibility of green careers to the younger generation, demonstrating the vital role these positions play in combating climate change and fostering a sustainable future. By showcasing the diversity and impact of jobs within the environmental sector, the partnership seeks to inspire and attract young talent to this crucial field.

  • Overcoming Employment Barriers: Help to address and dismantle the obstacles that hinder access to green careers for young people. Through digital events and other programmes, the partnership aims to support pathways for education, training, and employment in environmental roles, ensuring that the next generation of workers is diverse, skilled, and ready to contribute to a green economy.

  • Spotlight on Sustainability Education: Support the wider environmental sector in highlighting the importance of sustainability education as a foundation for a career in environmental services. 

  • Nurturing Green Talent: Through events like the ESS Expo 2024, focus on nurturing and developing the green talent pipeline. This includes providing platforms for learning, networking, and professional growth, as well as showcasing the exciting opportunities that lie within the environmental sector.

A message from Graham Duxbury, Groundwork’s UK Chief Executive:

"It’s great to see this new partnership with ESS Expo to help encourage and support young people to see the benefits of pursuing a career in the green skills sector. It’s vital that green infrastructure and low carbon jobs are both an accessible and exciting prospect in order for us to future-proof the workforce of tomorrow and build a more sustainable future for us all."

A message from Ali McQueen, Head of Marketing at ESS Expo:

"We're delighted to announce this timely collaboration with Groundwork. With their dedication to creating greener communities and our network across the environmental industry, we feel strongly that together we can make tangible progress on the urgent issue of the green skills gap as well as helping to tackle other important challenges in our combined sectors."

Groundwork are involved in an exclusive free webinar addressing critical skills shortages in the environmental sector.


Join us on Friday 26th April, 12:00 to 14:00 for this insightful webinar.

This event will feature presentations and discussions on government initiatives, apprenticeship schemes, regional differences, and collaborations between universities and industry.

Discover practical steps for businesses to train the next generation, strategies to make the sector attractive to youth, and collaborative solutions to address potential green skills shortages. This webinar is a unique opportunity for operators, local authorities, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, and stakeholders from education and development to engage in a conversation crucial for shaping the future of the environmental workforce.



Chair: Adam Read, SUEZ, & Member of Green Jobs Delivery Group

  • Green Jobs Delivery Group Update
    • Ben Leich, Head of Strategic Delivery, BEIS Grants and Investments, Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
    • Ash Zina, Head of Sector Skills, Department for Education
  • Addressing Barriers to Nature-Based Green Jobs
    • Sally Hayns, CEO, CIEEM
  • Case Study: Future Talent to Deliver GreenUp
    • Beth Whittaker, Chief Human Resources Officer, Veolia Northern Europe Zone
  • Increasing the Attractiveness of Sector to young people
    • Venetia Knight, Head of Employment and Enterprise, Groundwork
  • Connected Curriculum: How Academia and Industry can Collaborate on Education
    • Dr Aris Alexoulis, Senior Lecturer, Manchester Metropolitan University
    • Dr Steve Jones, Connected Curriculum Lead, Siemens


About ESS Expo: Environmental Services & Solutions Expo (ESS Expo) is a leading platform that brings together professionals, innovators, and thought leaders in the environmental services industry and across sustainability and net-zero. The expo provides a unique opportunity for networking, knowledge exchange, and collaboration to address current and future environmental challenges.

About Groundwork: Groundwork is a federation of charities with a collective mission to take practical action to create a fair and green future in which people, places, and nature thrive. We support communities and businesses to build capacity and resilience in order to tackle hardship, achieve a just transition to net-zero and help nature recover in a way that reduces inequality and leads to healthier, happier lives for all:

More details about the ESS-Groundwork partnership will be released in the coming months. Environmental organisations, universities, employers, recruiters and all those committed to a sustainable future are encouraged to get involved.

ESS Expo 2024

The Entire Industry in One Place

At ESS, professionals from diverse sectors like waste management, recycling, energy, water, construction, manufacturing, policy-making, and environmental consultancy unite to explore innovative, sustainable solutions and drive global change.

Who attends?

Attendee Sector Profile



Municipal and Private Waste Management


Water Drop

Water Management and Wastewater Treatment



Industry & Manufacturing


Professional Services

Engineering, Consultants and Professional Services



Trade, Local Authorities & Research



Suppliers to Environmental Services Sector