“Urgent reforms of the skills system are needed for the UK to hit net zero”, a new report released by the Future Energy Skills Programme warns.
The Skills for a Jobs Transition report, released by the Future Energy Skills Programme which is jointly led by Centrica and the GMB Trade Union, states that the current skills system is not fit for purpose and could have a detrimental effect on the UK’s net zero goals.
Should the UK not solve this growing barrier to the energy transition, the nation could be left behind by neighbouring countries with the EU and US having put skills training at the heart of its respective “European Green Deal” and “Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)” commitments.
This is recognised in the report which details that “we [UK] need to see the same level of commitment which has been offered by the US and the EU in terms of government funding for the transition ahead of us. We need to see a complete remodelling of the skills system, with difficult decisions about where money goes and where our young people are directed in their career choices”.
We must build the workforce of the future to reach net zero 🛠 🤝— Centrica plc (@centricaplc) July 18, 2023
The Future Energy Skills Programme which is co-chaired by our CEO and @GMBGarySmith released a report about creating a workforce with the skills to lead us to net zero.
More→ https://t.co/zKblI7EGhG pic.twitter.com/fULzWiG7LK
The document also calls for a properly funded and more flexible education system that allows new qualifications to be developed around emerging low-carbon technologies and sets out the need to destigmatise vocational training – particularly apprenticeships – to improve the status of green skills.
“Across political parties, industry and society there is now a consensus for the move towards net zero – but our ability to get there, and to do it in a way that is fair and affordable to everyone, needs to be examined,” said Chris O’Shea, group chief executive of Centrica.
“An ageing workforce, lack of apprentices, inadequate and inflexible vocational training, and a lack of diversity in the energy industry are just some of the challenges standing in the way.
“Meeting the UK’s energy ambitions requires bold action, and we must move with urgency to create the next generation of well paid, skilled jobs while ensuring that no worker or community is left behind on the path to a greener future.”
The report details a number of policy recommendations that could be made to overcome the current bottleneck of skills training. In total 50 are outlined in the report and include public investment in heating, clear policy roadmaps, bringing forward various targets, and more.
“The UK must transform our skills agenda, from the classroom to the frontline of energy delivery, to secure a successful climate jobs transition to net zero,” said Gary Smith, general secretary at GMB.
“The scale of the challenge is clear, and the price of failure is staring us in the face with the offshoring of hundreds of thousands of good jobs and tens of billions of pounds in investment over the next generation to the rest of the world.
“To win a better future we need an active and supportive state working around the table with employers, educators, and unions. This is a timely and far-sighted report, offering just the sort of credible proposals our country needs to turn aspiration into delivery.”