Government not sufficiently grappling skills gap needed for net zero, new report warns

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Inconsistent Government policy on green jobs and a knowledge-gap in necessary skills are resulting in missed opportunities, the Environmental Audit Committee has warned.

In their latest report, entitled Green Jobs, the Committee expresses ‘disappointment’ that despite announcements committing millions of pounds to green jobs initiatives, the Government is yet to define what a ‘green job’ is, and how it will evaluate the perceived demand.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne MP, commented: “From renewable energy clusters in the North East and Scotland, to engineering powerhouses in the Midlands and nature conservation in the South West, we are building an economy set for net zero.

“But the workforce of the future is being undermined by a lack of evidence-based Government policies on how jobs will be filled in green sectors.

“Encouraging announcements of investment in green sectors of the economy are very welcome but the Government admits that claims about green jobs lack explanation and data on how the targets will be achieved.

“Our report sets out how these green jobs roles can be filled. Monitoring the sectors and regions where the jobs are needed, and rebooting careers advice that demystifies green jobs, is critical if we are to meet our environmental goals.”

Some of the Committee’s recommendations are:

  • The Government should set out its definition of ‘green jobs’, and how it will measure the number, type and location of these over the 2020s, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating the impact of its policies.
  • By the end of 2021, the government department or body with overall responsibility for delivery of the Government’s green jobs policies should assign indicative costings to each department’s actions within the overall green jobs delivery plan.
  • The Government’s net zero and environmental goals must be considered at the design stage of future labour market interventions, to ensure they align with the green recovery.
  • The Government should pilot a National Nature Service during 2022.
  • The Government’s own analysis into the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme must be completed this year to take learnings to inform future schemes’ designs, and include a plan for industry engagement, to rebuild trust.
  • By the end of this year the Government needs to set out a programme to encourage development of relevant skills across the construction trade, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to stimulate development of skilled trades to increase the capacity markedly.
  • A just transition plan should be published by the end of this year and assess regional as well as sectoral impact.

The ‘green jobs’ report can be found on the UK Parliament website.