The West of England has set an ambitious goal for tackling climate change, committing to net zero carbon by 2030.
We commissioned Ecuity Consulting Ltd to conduct a two-phase study into the Retrofit market (Phase 1) and wider green skills market (Phase 2) in the region to add to our evidence base for our Climate Emergency Action Plan.
The study’s Retrofit Skills Market Analysis and Green Skills Market Analysis reports highlight that a range of different jobs and skills levels are required to reach Net Zero by 2030 and include options for ways we can support local people to access those jobs and skills.
The reports focus on the following key outputs:
- Identify and quantify the existing retrofit/green skills market, highlighting existing regional specialisms and high growth areas.
- Summarise existing skills provision, short falls and factors that may restrict job creation.
- Discuss the possible retrofit and green skills workforce requirements necessary to achieve the commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 as part of the Climate Emergency declaration.
- Provide insight into regional growth scenarios for the retrofit market and green jobs/skills market, including barriers, risks and opportunities.
- Set out the levers for market interventions and stimulus available to the Combined Authority, the three councils and partners at community, regional and policy level.
Retrofit market (Phase 1)
The study found that over 250,00 homes and 8,000 non-residential properties in the region need retrofitting. At the current pace of installations in the region, it would take around 557 years to install the required solid wall insulation and 857 years for the required heat pumps to meet net zero.
To meet our net zero by 2030 ambition, it’s projected that the retrofit sector will need to create around 14,000 new green jobs at all skill levels. The types of jobs needed span all retrofit measures including heat pumps, solid wall insulation, cavity wall/loft insulation, and heat networks.
There is a lack of awareness about the roles and long-term careers available within the retrofit sector, and the route to attaining the skills necessary to access them. Achieving the growth needed in the retrofit sector requires training providers to ‘get ahead of the curve’ and develop training courses. The study also found that supportive regulation very important in ensuring that any training delivered is consistent and of a high quality and to ensure sustainable growth of the retrofit market.
Wider green skills market (Phase 2)
Low carbon jobs currently represent less than 1% of all jobs (6,250 out of 7,000,000) in the West of England. However, the potential for green job creation is significant and analysis by Ecuity found that in order for the region to meet net zero by 2030, a further 50,000+ total net jobs would be required. This would consist of over 29,000 direct jobs, and over 20,500 indirect jobs as the wider supply chain would mobilise to support the increased demand for low-carbon technologies and infrastructure.
A range of different jobs and skills levels will be required to enable the region to become net-zero compliant by 2030. Projections within our Green Skills Market and Retrofit Analysis reports suggest that:
- 52% of projected low carbon additional jobs will be in construction and installation
- 10% of additional low carbon jobs will be manufacturing-based. This builds on our region’s strong capabilities in aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors and being home to one of the largest clusters of composite materials researchers and engineers in the world.
- 38% of low carbon jobs are projected to be in operations and maintenance to support the transition to net zero and ensure infrastructure is functioning correctly.
As a combined authority, we can act to address some of these issues and create more green jobs to ensure that our region has the right skills to become net zero. This includes:
- Launching a £20m Green Recovery Fund to create local jobs and combat climate change, primary focus of the fund will be on delivering more retrofit, decarbonising transport and protecting the environment.
- Driving forward investment in skills including the Adult Education Budget: £14.7 million funding to help adults over the age of 19 to develop skills and qualifications needed for life, work, apprenticeships and further learning.
- Helping businesses to upskill their work forces and supporting residents into work through programmes like Workforce for the Future and Future Bright.
Over the coming months we will:
- Develop a proposal for a West of England retrofit scheme – using Green Recovery Funding to stimulate demand and deliver retrofit training and provision within the region.
- Work with education providers to embed green skills within their curriculums and put on more green skills courses.
- Work with employers to identify training and employment opportunities for local residents.
- Lobby government for more money to address skills provision gaps.