UK’s green jobs skills gap needs to be addressed, says report

Article by Amanda Doyle

A REPORT from the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee has expressed disappointment at the UK Government’s policy on green jobs. It pointed out that despite the Government’s pledges on creating green jobs, it has yet to even define what a green job is, let alone release detailed plans.

The report, Green Jobs, welcomed the Government’s aim to have 2m green jobs by 2030 and noted that the report from the Green Jobs Taskforce provided a good foundation on how such a workforce can be created. It said that what is needed now is a detailed plan on how this will happen.

The EAC called for a definition of “green job” so that green job ambitions can be evaluated against policies. It called for action to create green jobs as part of pandemic recovery, which would address unemployment as well as accelerate the growth of green sectors. It also warned that the Government must learn from the failure of the Green Homes Grant scheme, where a failure to engage with the sector regarding skills development led to staff redundancies.

Following on from the Government’s commitment to a just transition, the EAC also called for a detailed plan on how this will happen. The report highlighted that this must assess the impact of the transition to net zero on different regions as well as different sectors.

It said that training needs to be put in place now for the current and future workforce, and that the Government needs to ensure that green skills demand and provision is monitored. Diversity and inclusion also need to be factored in and the EAC highlighted that currently only 9% of engineers are women and only 3.1% of environment professionals identify as ethnic monitories. Careers advice for young people will also be important to make them aware of the available opportunities.

Philip Dunne MP, Chairman of the EAC, said: “From renewable energy clusters in the North East and Scotland, to engineering powerhouses in the Midlands and nature conservation in the South West, we are building an economy set for net zero.

“But the workforce of the future is being undermined by a lack of evidence-based Government policies on how jobs will be filled in green sectors. Encouraging announcements of investment in green sectors of the economy are very welcome but the Government admits that claims about green jobs lack explanation and data on how the targets will be achieved.

“Our report today sets out how these green jobs roles can be filled. Monitoring the sectors and regions where the jobs are needed, and rebooting careers advice that demystifies green jobs, is critical if we are to meet our environmental goals.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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