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UK Gov needs to upskill workforce to achieve net zero, new report suggests

Electrical Training

Net zero will not be possible without there being a sufficient number of workers to roll out the technology needed to achieve it, with a recent report calling on the Government to do more to upskill the workforce. 

​The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has called for stronger investment and governance in further education, with a particular focus on training the next-generation of electrical engineers, which will help usher in the net zero era. 

The Electrical Contractors Association has echoed the report’s calls, noting that the Government needs to prioritise workforce development to avoid the looming net zero skills crisis. 

It was recently reported that many businesses within the services industry are facing worsening labour shortages – that could directly risk the UK’s hope of achieving net zero by its 2050 deadline unless work is taken to address the shortage. 

The ECA has been working to address the shortage within the electrical industry, with initiatives such as Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs), which highlights the mismatches throughout England between the courses and qualifications which many local colleges are currently delivering, and the skills which electrotechnical and engineering services businesses require. However despite these initiatives, the ECA admits it needs Government support if the industry stands a chance at addressing the shortage. 

Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Workforce and Public Affairs, noted, “We fully agree with the CCC’s statement that no net zero policy can succeed without skilled people with which to deliver on it.

“Without stronger links between education and SME employers, and alignment around training routes which command real industry credibility and support, the education system will continue to miss the mark in its efforts to support the transition to net zero. Both at national and local levels, the voices of 50,000 electrotechnical and engineering services businesses need to be heard.”

The CCC report also says that with targeted intervention from the Government, the net zero transition could potentially add up to 725,000 new jobs to the UK economy.

Eldred added, “The Installation Electrician and Maintenance Electrician standard in England recently received the King’s Coronation emblem as one of six apprenticeships recognised as essential for the nation’s net zero future. Although the apprenticeship attracts an average of 5,000 to 6,000 starts each year, that’s not anything like enough to meet our needs.

“At the same time, around 20,000 learners are enrolled each year onto full-time, publicly funded electrical courses – most with little or no realistic prospect of progressing further into skilled industry employment.

“Priority Number One therefore must be to bridge the chasm between education and employment, and stem the present waste of ambition, time and money. Hopefully this new report will instil a welcome sense of urgency and realism into government skills policy and help support our industry to deliver a net zero economy.”

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