Industry must ‘level up’ 12,000 people a year to meet net zero targets 

A new report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Green Jobs Task Force has revealed the extent of ‘levelling up’ required to meet the UK’s net zero carbon target by 2050.

The ECA broadly supports the measures outlined in the report to increase investment in renewable energy, electricity networks, smart technologies and retrofitting existing building stock.

However, ECA finds the recommendations in the report too focused on private sector support. The association believes the onus should be on Government to support the ‘levelling-up’ of the industry’s workforce and the efficient and safe installation of low-to-no-carbon technologies.

Luke Osborne, ECA’s Energy Solutions Advisor, says: “There is an enormous amount to accomplish in an ever-shorter timeframe. We will need all hands on deck to get at least 12,000 new workers properly trained every year for the next four years to meet estimated demand. It is critical that, as an industry on the front line of the climate crisis, we get this right.

“As well as more Government-led funding, we must ensure the right training is accessible to everyone who wants to join the fight against the climate crisis, wherever they live in the UK. Access to high quality training and skills should not be a postcode lottery.”

Andrew Eldred, ECA’s Director of Employment and Skills, says: “Getting the electrotechnical industry ready to support the efficient and safe installation of new technologies shouldn’t just be down to individuals, as this report implies.

“In a sector where 93% of all businesses employ just nine people or less, we need stronger collaboration between industry, Government and education to achieve a huge uplift in the number of apprentices and career changers coming through.

“Compared to other trades, electrotechnical does well to secure around 6,000 new apprentice starts most year: 85% with small, non-levy employers. This is just a fraction of the numbers hired in Germany. Current recruitment rates fall well short of the demand for net-zero-ready workers.”

The report comes as the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow from 1-12 November.

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