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Expert report: every UK job has the potential to be green

Independent Green Jobs Taskforce issues call to action on how the UK can deliver a green industrial revolution with government, business and the education sector working together.

  • Independent Green Jobs Taskforce issues call to action on how the UK can deliver a green industrial revolution with government, business and the education sector working together – declaring every job has the potential to become green
  • UK government reaffirms its commitment to supporting workers as our economy transitions to a low carbon future with a package of green skills programmes, helping adults of all ages gain the skills needed to progress into green jobs
  • yesterday’s steps vital to support the government’s ambition to create 2 million skilled green jobs by 2030 and build back greener from the pandemic

Every UK job has the potential to be green, according to a new independent, expert report published yesterday (Wednesday 14 July) and backed by the UK government.

Reaffirming its commitment to delivering a workforce needed for a green industrial revolution and outlining a series of green programmes providing adults with the skills needed to pursue a green career, the UK government yesterday welcomed 15 new recommendations from the independent Green Jobs Taskforce.

It is already estimated that the Prime Minister’s ambitious Ten Point Plan will support up to 90,000 highly-skilled green UK jobs within this Parliament, and up to 250,000 by 2030. This includes supporting 60,000 jobs in offshore wind, 40,000 new jobs in zero emission vehicles, and 50,000 jobs in greening the UK’s buildings – all by 2030. This represents the first steps towards our broader ambition of supporting 2 million jobs in the green economy and its supply chains by 2030.

The Taskforce, convened by the Business and Education departments in November 2020, has published its findings and recommendations on how the UK government, industry and skills sector can best deliver the green jobs and skills of the future. Recommendations include:

  • publishing a detailed Net Zero Strategy and using policy to promote good green jobs, skills and competitive supply chains
  • industry, the education sector and the UK government working together to ensure green careers advice and pathways into good green jobs
  • building on the UK government’s skills reforms to support people to work in the new green economy

Yesterday’s report assesses how the UK jobs market and the skills sector should adapt to support net zero, from training engineers and construction workers who are building the UK’s world-renowned offshore wind farms and nuclear plants, to the retrofitters who will make homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and car mechanics servicing electric vehicles and vans.

UK Energy & Climate Change Minister and co-chair of the Green Jobs Taskforce Anne-Marie Trevelyan yesterday said:

As we lead the world in tackling climate change, we need to invest in the UK’s most important asset – its workforce – so that our people have the right skills to deliver a green industrial revolution and thrive in the jobs it will create.

That’s why today we have welcomed the recommendations put forward by the Green Jobs Taskforce, which are a big step forward in delivering the skilled workers and green jobs essential for the UK’s transition to net zero.

Its report, alongside our ambitious skills programmes, will be invaluable to us as we build a pathway into green careers for people from all backgrounds and ensuring that workers and communities dependent on the high-carbon economy are supported as we build back greener into a cleaner future.

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills and co-chair of the Green Jobs Taskforce Gillian Keegan yesterday said:

We are focused on delivering the talent pipeline businesses need for green jobs now and in the future. From Skills Bootcamps to apprenticeships, our skills programmes will ensure people are able to acquire the skills needed for the growing green economy.

We welcome the Taskforce’s findings which will help us to drive forward our ambitious green skills revolution, supporting more people of all backgrounds to get the skills they need to build great careers and help us reach our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

In a further drive to ensure people have the right skills to deliver the transition to a net zero economy and pursue green careers, the UK government has already rolled out a range of initiatives and skills programmes to build low carbon industries across the country and help people thrive in the jobs this will create.

This includes working with employers to boost green apprenticeship opportunities and supporting more adults to gain the skills they need to progress into green jobs through upskilling and training programmes.

These initiatives will build on existing action already underway including green apprenticeships and green skills bootcamps, strengthening the government’s ambition to support the creation of 2 million skilled jobs by 2030 to build back greener and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Director at National Grid and Member of the Green Jobs Taskforce Rhian Kelly yesterday said:

Getting the right people and skills in place to achieve the government’s ambitious climate goals is a huge challenge. The Green Jobs Taskforce has drawn on insights from across business, trade unions and academia, to identify actions that can have a real impact on building the net zero workforce the UK needs. This won’t happen overnight so it’s vital we move from intent to action now and that the report is acted upon with urgency.

Executive Director of Aldersgate Group and Member of the Green Jobs Taskforce Nick Molho yesterday said:

The Green Jobs Taskforce has been a great example of industry, trade unions, the skills sector, civil society and government working together to make the net zero transition a success for the UK economy, its workforce and citizens. There is strong agreement across all sectors that we can achieve the UK’s climate and environmental targets in a way that grows new low carbon supply chains across all parts of the economy and creates a significant number of high-quality jobs across the country. Achieving this ambition is ultimately down to the actions that government, industry and the skills sector will take in the coming years.

To deliver this objective, the UK needs to have a detailed policy plan for its net zero target, mainstream the teaching of climate change and green skills across all stages of the education system and provide those already in the workforce with the financial and flexible learning support they need to have access to reskilling.

Initiatives from the UK government include:

  • Green apprenticeships: there are a wide range of green apprenticeships already up and running including Nuclear Desk Engineers, Wind Turbine Maintenance and Operations Engineering Technicians, Research Scientists and Environmental Practitioners that have been endorsed by the Green Apprenticeships Advisory Panel (GAAP). The GAAP is working with employers across England to enhance the current apprenticeships on offer and create new opportunities to adapt to the growing green economy.
  • Green Skills Bootcamps: the government is expanding its Skills Bootcamps to other areas of the country, which deliver free, flexible training courses of up to 16 weeks for adults so they can develop in-demand skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. This will include offering technical training in green home retrofit management, solar energy installation, sustainable agriculture, nuclear energy deployment, and green transport
  • Electrification skills boost: the government has launched the Emerging Skills Electrification Project, which aims to encourage the adoption of cutting-edge skills in electrification technologies, such as battery-powered motors and drives, electric vehicle systems and software, battery maintenance, and recycling. The project will fund the development of short courses, teacher training support and free to access ‘up-skilling’ days for adults in the latest electrification technologies
  • Free Courses for Jobs (free Level 3 qualifications): backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund, the government is fully funding any adult without an existing Level 3 qualifications, which are equivalent to A levels or an advanced technical certificate or diploma, to take a Level 3 qualification for free. The offer includes qualifications that will support adults across England to get the skills that lead directly to jobs in sectors such as Agriculture, Building and Construction, Engineering, Horticulture and Forestry and Science
  • Supporting transitioning industries: this year the government announced the landmark North Sea Transition Deal, supporting the oil and gas industry’s transition to clean, green energy - while supporting 40,000 jobs, and the UK’s first ever Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, to help industry decarbonise in line with net zero, while remaining competitive and without pushing emissions abroad
  • Plans for jobs: more than a third of the working population, including 14.5 million jobs, have been supported since the coronavirus pandemic began, one year on from the announcement of the government’s landmark Plan for Jobs

As part of government’s immediate response to the Green Jobs Taskforce report, it has announced it will set up a cross-cutting delivery group to include representatives from industry, the skills sector and other key stakeholders to oversee the development and delivery of the government’s plans for green jobs and skills. This group will maintain the momentum generated by the Taskforce and drive meaningful action across the green skills agenda.

The evidence collected by the Green Jobs Taskforce, and official recommendations, will now be considered by the government, feeding into the development of government’s ambitious Net Zero Strategy, due to be published ahead of the UN’s climate summit COP26 in Glasgow this November. The Net Zero Strategy will clearly set out the government’s path to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and meeting the UK government’s targets to cut emissions and create new jobs and industries across the whole country.

Additional Green Jobs Taskforce member quotes

Chair in Carbon Management & Education, Director of Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, University of Edinburgh Professor Dave Reay yesterday said:

In this crucial year for climate action, and with the long shadow of COVID-19 still hanging over us all, this report and its recommendation couldn’t be more timely. The UK’s successful transition to net zero depends on every sector of our economy; every job of the future will be shaped by it and many thousands will be created by it.

We now have a real opportunity to simultaneously deliver on our climate goals, supercharge a green recovery, and a realise a fairer and more inclusive future for the whole nation. To do this, our education and skills systems needs to be bang on point, green career pathways must be open for all, and investments need to be matched with local needs and opportunities right across the country.

In navigating this perfect storm of climate emergency, nature crisis and global pandemic, these recommendations can be a bright green beacon to guide the way.

Prospect Senior Deputy General Secretary Sue Ferns yesterday said:

The drive for Net Zero is not only essential for the future of the planet, it has the potential to usher in a new wave of good quality, high-skilled jobs right across the country. But this won’t happen without coordinated action from government, industry, and trade unions.

Together we need to work to make sure that we properly deploy the skills we have, develop those we need, and create green jobs in every nation and region- and this report sets out a plan to do it, starting with the creation of a new national body to help guide the important process of workforce transition so that no worker is left behind as we green our economy.

Notes to Editors

Yesterday’s Green Jobs Taskforce report calls for a holistic approach across the ‘lifecycle’ of green jobs to ensure the UK grasps the opportunities that a green industrial revolution will create, focusing on action to:

  1. unlock industry investment in good quality green jobs and skills
  2. promote diversity within emerging low carbon sector and ensure pathways exist for people of all ages to go into green careers
  3. to ensure a just transition for workers in high carbon sectors.

The cross-cutting delivery group will maintain the momentum generated by the Taskforce and drive meaningful action across the green skills agenda.

The government will not be endorsing Green Jobs Taskforce recommendations at this stage or adopting them as official policy. Formal response to the recommendations will come within the Net Zero Strategy, published ahead of COP26, building on the work already underway to deliver the skills for net zero.

Building on this world-leading progress and following last year’s announcement of the Prime Minister’s ambitious UK’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the government launched the Green Jobs Taskforce, bringing together business, trade unions, education sector and Local Enterprise Partnerships to set out world-leading steps to build back better and greener, use our recovery to level up the country, and support jobs throughout the UK as we accelerate our path to net zero by 2050.

There are already over 410,000 jobs in low carbon businesses in the UK and their supply chains across the country, with turnover estimated at £42.6 billion in 2019, and the value of goods and services exported by UK low carbon businesses exceeding £7 billion.

The green apprenticeships advisory panel will help focus efforts to make sure the right skills are in place for the future workforce to deliver the green technology shift the UK needs. The panel is supported by an advisory community of employers. The community offer greater expertise on occupations. They share insight with the panel and help them shape their final recommendations.

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