Climate skills shortage will see UK ‘lose out to other countries’

The green economy presents opportunities. But can the UK grasp them? (OVA)
The green economy presents opportunities. But can the UK grasp them? (OVA)

The UK could squander economic and green job opportunities because of a crippling lack of skills, a think tank has warned.

More support for businesses, higher education institutions and individuals is needed to ensure the UK workforce is ready to reap the benefits of greener jobs and industries, according to a new report by think tank Green Alliance.

It outlines several recommendations for the UK government to reduce the risk for businesses to invest in skills and training. This includes a so-called ‘green skills super deduction’, a tax relief for businesses that invests in training and skilling up staff for green jobs.

Helena Bennett, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, said: “Supporting businesses, institutions and individuals will help to develop the skills we need for thriving green industries. But if we don’t have a proper programme the UK risks being outpaced by other countries.

“There’s no doubt that net zero will bring huge job opportunities for the UK. But if the prime minister wants a ‘high wage, high skill’ economy, then we need to build a workforce for the green jobs of the future.”

Further recommendations include more help for businesses in the form of loans and grants to help reduce the risk of training staff in new skills, improving and remodelling careers guidance, and building green skills into higher and in-work education.

The skills shortage is particularly stark for the industries that most urgently need to decarbonise, such as transport, the report adds.

The UK’s highest emitting sector is set to create 175,000 jobs in the next 13 years, but these jobs will require new skills in battery manufacturing, electrification engineering and developing sustainable aviation fuels.