The government has announced the formation of the Green Jobs Taskforce to support the creation of 2 million new jobs.
The taskforce will be chaired by energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng and skills minister Gillian Keegan, forming a part of the government’s ambitions to build back greener.
An action plan will be formed by the taskforce – which met for the first time today (12 November) - and will assess how the UK jobs market and the skills sector will adapt to net zero.
The taskforce is focusing on ensuring UK has the “immediate skills” needed for decarbonisation, such as trained professionals in the offshore wind and home retrofitting sectors, by developing a long term plan that charts out the skills needed to help deliver net zero. This will help to create “good quality” green jobs for a diverse workforce, as well as supporting workers in areas such as oil and gas to retrain in green technologies.
“This government has promised to do all it can to provide good quality, secure work as we build back better and greener from coronavirus,” Kwarteng said.
“The Green Jobs Taskforce will oversee the UK taking strides towards long-term economic prosperity, as well as transitioning to the new low-carbon green industries of the future.”
The opportunity a green recovery poses for the creation of new jobs has been highlighted by a number of organisations, including the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
Their recent report argued that investing in areas such as renewable power generation, distribution and storage, electric vehicle production and charging infrastructure and carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), tens of thousands of jobs could be created around the country.
Responding to the announcement of the taskforce, the Renewable Energy and Clean Technology's (REA) chief executive Dr Nina Skorupska CBE said that having access to skilled labour and technical expertise as the renewable sector grows "is of vital importance".
Skorupska pointed to the REA's annual report on the renewable energy sector, which found in 2017/18 there were 128,954 people employed in the sector.
“These numbers have been steadily increasing over the last five years, but it is clear that these will need to increase substantially if we are to meet the UK’s net zero challenge," she added.