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Green recovery will be reliant on good quality apprenticeships, says the ECA

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The Government’s long-promised green recovery will be contingent on having good quality apprenticeships available, the ECA has said. 

With the green revolution promising to fuel major economic growth following the Covid-19 pandemic, the Electrical Contractors Association is now worried as to whether the skills will be in place to deliver on that promise. It noted that the reduction in training opportunities for young people could jeopardise the 2050 target set for net zero carbon emissions. 

A survey by a group of leading electrotechnical and engineering services bodies revealed firms in the sector believe current training does not deliver workers competent to install new green technologies. In fact, 54% think the UK would benefit by looking at how other, notably northern European, countries approach a similar challenge.

“The engineering services industry offers fantastic careers to support net zero,” commented Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Education and Skills.

“However, the UK’s low-carbon market is not adequately regulated. This leaves the door open to low quality, short training courses and this can quickly become a safety issue.”

The survey, part of the Skills4Climate report authored by leading industry bodies ECA, TESP, BESA, the Renewable Energy Association and Solar Energy UK (formerly the Solar Trade Association), confirmed that 88% of engineering services employers support a green recovery.

“Young people enthused by calls to halt and reverse climate change need more encouragement to consider a career designing, installing and maintaining UK’s new low carbon infrastructure,” added Eldred. 

“ECA’s Skills 4 Climate Survey confirms the potential for a green recovery and the chance, finally, for the UK to make a decisive break from the low-skill, low wage equilibrium that has blighted our economy and society for decades.”

ECA, which represents the interests of around 3,000 businesses in the electrotechnical and engineering services sector, is concerned by the growth of low quality, short courses run for commercial gain.  

ECA advocates a joined-up approach, whereby existing industry-recognised qualification routes, including apprenticeships, are updated and extended to incorporate low carbon technologies, and businesses operating in this market are required to demonstrate that they are employing fully qualified, experienced and competent personnel to provide reliable and safe installations.

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