Last reviewed 19 October 2020

Business leaders are urging the Government to plug the deficit in skills that is currently undermining the growth of low carbon supply chains across the UK economy.

In its latest briefing, Upskilling the UK workforce for the 21st century, the Aldersgate Group, which represents business sectors and environmental organisations, points out that the low carbon economy, which is predicted to grow four times faster than the rest of the economy over this decade, is being undermined by the current skills gap.

The report calls on the Government to refocus the UK’s skills strategy in light of rising demands for clean growth, and to set out new priorities for training and education sectors in line with a growing net zero emissions economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “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….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.”

The policy briefing sets out five key recommendations for tackling the skills deficit, summarised below.

  • Environmental sustainability curriculum embedded across all stages of education.

  • Overhaul for Ofsted assessments focussed on equipping teachers with the necessary knowledge.

  • Encouraging tailored courses in Further and Higher Education to meet the needs of local, low carbon job creation.

  • Funding and fostering relationships between educational institutions and businesses beyond Oxford, Cambridge and London.

  • High standards to incentivise businesses to provide apprentices with long-term, low carbon skills and expertise.

Commenting on the briefing, Professor Dave Reay from the University of Edinburgh, said the recommendations are “right at the heart of a green recovery” and calls this intervention “cool thinking in a multiple emergency.” Julia Barrett, Chief Sustainability Officer at Willmott Dixon, added that the plan “will support us and our supply chain partners in helping the UK become a world-leading, competitive and low carbon economy.”