Skilling up for net zero

Source: The Engineer

Monday, 5 September 2022

EngineeringUK Chief Executive Dr Hilary Leevers emphasises the vital role engineering skills play in achieving net zero and the need for more clarity around green job forecasts and skills needs.

If I asked you about the world you’d like for yourself and future generations, what would you say? For many of us, a safer and more stable climate will be central to that vision, the need for which has been brought close to home with the extreme heatwave the UK faced this year. But will we secure the workforce needed to make this happen?

The UK has set a target to achieve net zero by 2050, a target that can only be achieved with a significant shift in workforce skills and practices. Engineers will be essential, with many required in what are often called green jobs. But what is the actual definition of a ‘green job’?

At EngineeringUK, we’ve analysed almost 30 research reports looking at green jobs and the engineering and tech skills needed to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy, including energy and power, transportation and industry. We’ve brought our findings together in our Net zero workforce report which found a real inconsistency around how ‘green jobs’ have been defined. That has to change. A clear and consistent definition of green jobs is needed to accurately classify them, with classifications regularly reviewed. This clarity needs to be applied to current data on green roles and the industries in which they operate and to estimates of future skills needs, so we can understand any engineering and technical skills gaps that must be addressed to meet net zero.

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