Green skills gaps: low-carbon industries must inspire young

Article by Amanda Jasi

Report warns that UK risks failing to develop a workforce capable of delivering the low-carbon transition

LOW-CARBON industries such as hydrogen, carbon capture, and nuclear, need to promote careers outreach programmes to encourage young people to join and help facilitate the UK’s transition to a net zero economy, according to recommendations in a new report.

Entitled A Greenprint for Skills for the Low-Carbon Industries, the report was delivered by Cogent Skills, a skills specialist focused on the science and technology sector, alongside professional services provider Gemserv.

In the report they highlight the importance of engineering skills for low-carbon industries and a “worrying” decline in related apprenticeships. According to statistics from the UK’s department for education (DfE), apprenticeship starts in engineering and manufacturing subject areas fell from 75,050 in 2016/17 to 49,110 in 2021/22.

Through their skills strategy, Cogent Skills and Gemserv aim to provide clarity and direction on the green skills and occupations required to support a net zero transition.

Jon Regnart-Russell, senior low carbon consultant at Gemserv, said: “As we transition to a net zero-based economy, developing a robust pipeline of science-based skills will be crucial. The skills required range from highly qualified R&D scientists pushing the boundaries of innovation, right through to technicians operating and maintaining complex equipment and processes.”

He went on to say the report “offers tangible recommendations on how to gear the UK’s science and engineering skills base towards delivering the future net zero technologies”.

Cogent Skills said: “The need for proactive action cannot be overstated. If we fail to act decisively and strategically, we risk failing to develop a workforce capable of delivering the low-carbon transition.”

The report draws on insight from stakeholder workshops with more than 40 industry experts, a literature review, and the combined experience and expertise of Cogent Skills and Gemserv. It is intended as a starting point for examining how the transition will impact the skills development trajectory for science and technology.

This article is adapted from an earlier online version.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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