The Green Alliance has published a report on the green skills gap which highlights the need for action to ensure the UK job market has the skills necessary for the green economy to develop.
As the government has committed to delivering a net zero economy by 2050 and has highlighted its intention to spread economic benefits across the country through ‘levelling up’, it is felt that the transition to net zero will create new economic opportunities that can be harnessed to spread opportunity across the country, but to do so will require new skills in the UK’s workforce.
The Green Alliance Report identifies specific gaps in skills and makes recommendations for the development of an integrated skills programme to marry the government’s environmental ambitions with its economic and social aims.
- Every major sector in the UK needs to close a significant skills gap to enable them to reach net zero.
- The sectors with the most pressing emissions reductions by 2030 face the most immediate skills shortages, including housing and transport. Along with land use, these sectors already face shortages to deliver the status quo, let alone progress on net zero.
- Eighty per cent (80%) of the current workforce will still be active in 2030. As well as attracting new green entrants there should be a focus on transferring existing skills and retraining for the green economy.
Green skills are central to both levelling up and economic growth, so the government must start from a point of integration. Current and forthcoming legislation on lifetime skills and the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) must give due regard to environmental goals, while environmental legislation must do the same for skills.
However, to ensure the economy does not return to sluggish growth and green jobs do not only stay in the south east but spread across the country, ministers should design and implement a new comprehensive green skills programme, supported in three ways via Industry, Institutions and Individuals.
Industry Will Need To: –
- Develop a UK-wide body and framework for green jobs, to match supply and demand regionally and across sectors.
- Identify and develop local skills plans that link businesses with universities and colleges and reflect local dynamics.
- Sector boards will have to collect frequent, granular labour market intelligence for the green transition.
- And a super-deduction for training, providing 130% tax relief for investment in employees’ green skills should be implemented.
Institutions Will Need To: –
- Develop green courses, using the new framework to understand the landscape of the future workforce.
- Establish environmental modules in other courses as the new skill requirements are not confined to green jobs.
Individuals Will Need To: –
- Support public facing campaigns to increase knowledge about green skills and their benefits, complementing efforts by industry.
- Provide support for workers while they retrain, in the form of loans, grants or maintenance payments.
- Use existing programmes to boost green skills, such as the digital skills bootcamp model.
To read the full Green Alliance report please click here.