UK skills-base ill-equipped for Net Zero according to new report

Almost half (48%) of electrotechnical and engineering services employers have said there is ‘insufficient training’ available to enable electricians and other installers to deliver the technologies necessary to achieve Net Zero.

The Skills4Climate industry report, which surveyed a range of businesses in the electrotechnical and engineering services sector, showed that despite overwhelming support from respondents (88%) for a green UK economic recovery following the coronavirus crisis, a quarter (25%) said they would struggle to find workers with the necessary ‘green’ skills to meet demand.

The report highlights the need for more effective collaboration between installers, manufacturers, the education and training sector and Government agencies to define and deliver the low carbon skills necessary for Net Zero Carbon.

Andrew Eldred, ECA’s Director of Employment & Skills says: “Despite a powerful consensus in favour of transition to a low carbon economy, skills policy and delivery in this area remain sub-optimal, with insufficient engineering services sector input and buy-in.

“A more inclusive and strategic approach is required to encourage more engineering services employers to upskill their current workforce to deliver a low carbon revolution, and to recruit and train the next cohort of school leavers for secure and meaningful careers for the future.”

ECA Energy Solutions Advisor Luke Osborne adds: “There is a disconnect between the engineering services industry and the much-vaunted technologies that will take us to Net Zero Carbon by 2050. This year especially, with COP26 around the corner, we need to work with others to provide the necessary skills capacity to enable engineering services businesses to pivot into EV charging, heat pumps, smart systems and renewables.”

With regard to meeting growing future demand for skilled employees who can install green solutions, half of respondents said their strategy would be to ‘recruit from the current market’. Over half (54%) believe the UK would benefit by looking at how stronger national skills systems, notably those in northern Europe, approach the challenge.

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