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Skills for Climate consultation takes aim at our net zero future

As the UK government targets net zero by 2050, some of the largest industry bodies have joined forces to launch a consultation looking at what skills will be required to achieve that goal. 

Dubbed Skills for Climate, the consultation will assess what current skills are available when it comes to transforming the UK economy from one reliant on fossil fuels to a green economy. It will also look at what steps businesses and the Government need to take to ensure there is a further development of skills, targeting areas where there’s a skills gap.

The Skills for Climate consultation is being run by the ECA, in association with the REA, STA, BESA and The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP). It is also being supported by an array of bodies from across industry, including EnergyUK, FETA and SELECT. 

What is the Skills for Climate consultation for?

The consultation asks several key questions surrounding the Government’s planned green UK economic recovery, and what businesses need to achieve the Government’s ambitious goals.

One question asks what the Government should be doing to bolster the green economy, such as reduced energy-relevant VAT rates (e.g. for retrofit, building materials), planning liberalisation, microgeneration grants or higher carbon taxes. Another asks whether organisations already have enough access to skilled employees in certain key sectors, such as solar and electric vehicle installations. 

The ECA and the other bodies that are running the consultation hope that they will receive valuable insight into where the industry needs the most support in order to bolster the green economy. There has already been calls to address the skills gap within the electrical industry, with this consultation hopefully highlighting the areas where there’s the biggest gap. 

Luke Osborne, ECA energy advisor, commented, “It’s vitally important that the skillbase exists to deliver ambitious plans for a green recovery and a low carbon economy in the UK. This consultation aims to understand the state of play, and what actions are required to ensure skilled and competent people fill the likely major expansion in green jobs. ECA urges businesses from across industry to complete this important consultation”.

Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, chief executive of the REA, added, “Achieving net zero means ensuring we have hundreds of thousands of qualified staff in the UK doing everything from installing public charging points to upgrading our gas and electricity networks. Whilst we have made good progress to date, the pace of deployment needs to ramp up this decade and the skills need to be in place to facilitate the transition.

“This is an important and timely survey, the outputs of which should be carefully considered by the Government as they prepare the National Infrastructure Strategy and develop plans for a green economic recovery.”

Helen Yeulet, BESA Director of Training, concluded, “This important survey will provide insight into the practical obstacles to solving not only the current skills crisis, but how to ensure we have the capacity to deliver a green recovery in the built environment.

“We suspect SMEs are struggling to access the Apprenticeship Levy in order to recruit or retain apprentices, so this will survey will help us gauge whether there is the appetite and budgets within businesses to enable the required upskilling and reskilling to happen.”

The consultation is open until August 14 and will take around 15 minutes to complete. Respondents who complete all questions and provide their email address will be entered into a free prize draw to win £200 worth of Amazon vouchers.

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