In the lead up to COP26, government, business, and wider stakeholders have a big focus on the UK’s progression towards net-zero. Last year, the government launched their ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution, and throughout this year will be looking to support policies to accelerate decarbonisation and build a sustainable future for the UK. A huge part of this will mean ensuring that the right skills and training is available to support both individuals and businesses in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The CBI engaged with members and stakeholders across three key areas undergoing transition - home efficiency, automotive and electric vehicles, and clean energy - to identify the opportunities and challenges to delivering the skills and training on the path net-zero. We found that the ‘green economy’ is going to require a range of different skills that goes well beyond what many consider to be specific ‘green skills’. The paper delves into each of the three key areas to assess the job opportunities available and how skills and training can support the transition of workers into new green jobs.
The paper identifies three challenges that apply to all sectors of the green economy which the government needs to consider:
- Lack of awareness of the green economy – at present there is a huge task in educating the public about the path to net-zero to support the growing consumer market and stimulate demand. Without a stronger brand, individuals are less likely to consider career opportunities in the home efficiency, automotive and clean power.
- Stability and direction through government policy - the government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution sets a broad vision for the priority sector transitions needed to achieve net-zero emissions. This direction is helpful for business and policy makers, but it stops short of offering a full net-zero strategy from government, and businesses are looking for more certainty to help invest with confidence. The threat of changing government policy, particular support schemes such as grants and funding, is a risk to business, which can be offset by long-term policy commitments and goals.
- Transitioning into changing industries and new jobs – industry will have a major role in preparing their workforces for change, meaning huge amounts of upskilling. However, anticipated changes also likely to see some people leave the industry rather than retrain, and new workers with better matched skills join. There is an important role for government to support more fundamental retraining that keeps people in work, and to support transitions between industries.
To overcome these challenges, we made six key recommendations for government to consider, supporting both career development and training support for those going through job transitions, as well as developing new quality industry standards that will equip people with the right skills to thrive in the green economy. Download your copy of the paper to read the recommendations in full.
The CBI has submitted this paper to the Green Jobs Taskforce and is continuing to engage with the government in the lead-up to COP26. For more information, or if you would like to discuss these issues further, please contact Nic Trower.