Reaching net zero ‘requires green skills shortage to be urgently tackled’

The Aldersgate Group says a deficit in skills is currently undermining the growth of low carbon supply chains across the UK economy

Reaching net zero requires the national shortage of green skills to be urgently tackled.

That’s the call from the Aldersgate Group, which says a deficit in skills is currently undermining the growth of low carbon supply chains across the UK economy and stresses low carbon skills provision must become a policy priority to bolster the economy and remain on track for phasing out emissions by the deadline of 2050.

The organisation notes 91% of businesses say they already face a skills deficit and highlights that between 1998 and 2016, several economies in the north of England have grown at less than half the rate of London’s economy.

It stresses the coronavirus crisis has amplified these challenges, driving increasing unemployment rates, particularly among young people.

The Aldersgate Group urges for environmental sustainability to be embedded across the national curriculum and teacher training standards, as well as for higher and further education institutions to be better supported to help meet the needs of local employers.

It also says apprenticeship standards and mid-career reskilling qualifications should be updated and strengthened to ensure the workforce have the talents and abilities that are required.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Skills policy has been a missing link in the UK’s clean growth ambitions for too long. The move to a net zero emissions economy comes with a significant job creation potential which is matched by growing public enthusiasm to play an active role in this transition.

“Together with putting together a comprehensive policy plan to put the UK on track for its target, government must prioritise the development of an ambitious and carefully co-ordinated low carbon skills strategy and ensure that education institutions across the country are supported in this process.”

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