Skilled workforce unable to meet net zero ambitions
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, almost half (48%) have said there is ‘insufficient training’ available to enable electricians and other installers to deliver the technologies necessary - such as renewable energy, heat pumps, electric vehicle charging and energy storage - to achieve net zero carbon,
 Additional responses
With regard to meeting growing future demand for skilled employees who can instal green solutions, half (50%) of the 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.
 Need for collaboration
The ECA survey 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 said, “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 added, “There is a disconnect between the engineering services industry and the much-vaunted technologies that will take us to net zero carbon by 2050. 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.”
The 32-page survey had 147 respondents, ranging from micro-businesses to those with over 500 employees. It was produced in partnership with TESP, BESA, the Renewable Energy Association and Solar Energy UK (formerly the Solar Trades Association), with the support of 15 other bodies. It was conducted in the second half of 2020.
This article originally appeared under the headline, 'UK skills-base ill-equipped for Net Zero'. It was published on 21 January 2021.
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