As National Apprenticeship Week begins, the future should look bright as a new era of net zero carbon technologies offers a multitude of opportunities. Yet, industry bodies warn the quality of training currently available to install green solutions is inadequate and could prove a safety hazard.
A survey by a group of leading electrotechnical and engineering services bodies revealed firms in the sector believe current training does not deliver workers competent to install new technologies. Over half (54%) think the UK would benefit by looking at how other, notably northern European, countries approach a similar challenge.
“The engineering services industry offers fantastic careers to support net zero,” says Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Education and Skills. “However, the UK’s low-carbon market is not adequately regulated. This leaves the door open to low quality, short training courses and this can quickly become a safety issue.”
The survey, part of the Skills4Climate report authored by leading industry bodies ECA, TESP, BESA, the Renewable Energy Association and Solar Energy UK (formerly the Solar Trade Association), confirmed that 88% of engineering services employers support a green recovery.
“Young people enthused by calls to halt and reverse climate change need more encouragement to consider a career designing, installing and maintaining UK’s new low carbon infrastructure,” adds Andrew Eldred. “ECA’s Skills 4 Climate Survey confirms the potential for a green recovery and the chance, finally, for the UK to make a decisive break from the low-skill, low wage equilibrium that has blighted our economy and society for decades.”
ECA, which represents the interests of around 3,000 businesses in the electrotechnical and engineering services sector, is concerned by the growth of low quality, short courses run for commercial gain.
ECA advocates a joined-up approach, whereby existing industry-recognised qualification routes, including apprenticeships, are updated and extended to incorporate low carbon technologies, and businesses operating in this market are required to demonstrate that they are employing fully qualified, experienced and competent personnel to provide reliable and safe installations.