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Green skills and the green skills report

What are green skills?

Meeting net zero will require fundamental shifts across all areas of the economy including transport, power, industry and the natural environment.

Green skills encompass the expertise that we need to develop and support a sustainable society. The green skills report identifies the jobs our region requires to help us meet our net zero target.

Analysis by Ecuity found that for the region to meet net zero by 2030, more than 50,000 new jobs would be required.

Green skills

In order to drive action towards meeting the region’s 2030 target, we’re implementing a Climate Emergency Action Plan across the local economy which we are in the process of revising. However, those targets cannot be achieved without a skilled workforce. That’s why we need to provide our workers with skills in emerging technologies. Through upskilling the current workforce and engaging the next generation of workers, we can help tackle climate change.

Whilst this presents a significant challenge, it’s also a unique opportunity. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the national and regional employment markets has accelerated the need to support the growth of new green sectors. This means facilitating green jobs and enabling existing sectors to transition to low-carbon ways of working.

Green skills report

We commissioned Ecuity Consulting Ltd to conduct a study into the retrofit market and the wider Green skills market in our region. The results have been added to our Climate Emergency Action Plan and will continue to be reflected in our revised Climate and Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan.

The study’s Retrofit Skills Market Analysis and Green Skills Market Analysis highlight a range of different jobs and skills levels required to enable us to reach net zero by 2030. Our role is to support local people in accessing these jobs and skills.

The reports focus on the following key outputs:

  • Identify and quantify the existing retrofit/green skills market
  • Summarise existing skills provision, short falls and factors that may restrict job creation
  • Discuss the possible retrofit and green skills workforce requirements
  • Provide insight into regional growth scenarios for the retrofit market and green jobs/skills market, including barriers, risks and opportunities
  • Establish market interventions and stimulus available to the Combined Authority's three councils
Man changing an electric strobe light bulb

The retrofit market

Ecuity Consulting Ltd’s study found that over 250,00 homes and 8,000 non-residential properties with Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) in the region need retrofitting. This number is likely to be higher if those without recent (EPC). To meet our net zero ambition by 2030, it’s projected that the retrofit sector will need to create around 14,000 new green jobs at all skill levels.

To meet our net zero ambition by 2030, it’s projected that the retrofit sector will need to create around 50,000 new green jobs at all skill levels. The types of jobs required cover all areas of retrofitting including heat pumps, solid wall insulation, cavity wall/loft insulation, and heat networks.

The study also noted a general lack of awareness about the retrofit sector and the careers available within it. The sector requires training providers to develop courses to support the skills needed for the sector’s growth. The study also found that supporting regulation is required to ensure sustainable growth of the sector. This includes ensuring that any related training is consistent and of high quality.

The wider green skills market

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. Analysis by Ecuity found that for the region to meet net zero by 2030, more than 50,000 new jobs would be required.

52% of projected additional low-carbon jobs will be in construction and installation.

Projections within our green skills market and retrofit analysis reports

10% of additional low-carbon jobs will be manufacturing-based. This builds on our region’s strong capabilities in aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

Projections within our green skills market and retrofit analysis reports

38% of low-carbon jobs will be in operations and maintenance, to support the transition to net zero and ensure infrastructure is functioning correctly.

Projections within our green skills market and retrofit analysis reports

Next steps

As a Combined Authority, we can act now to address some of these issues and create more green jobs. To ensure that our region has the right skills to become net zero, we will:

  • Seek approval to launch a £20 million Green Recovery Fund to create local jobs and combat climate change. The primary focus of the fund will be on retrofitting, decarbonising transport and protecting and enhancing the environment.
  • Drive forward investment in skills including the Adult Education Budget. This consists of £14.7 million in funding to help adults over the age of 19 develop skills and qualifications needed for life, work, apprenticeships and further learning.
  • Help businesses to upskill their workforces and support 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, for example, to stimulate demand and deliver retrofit training and provision within the region
  • work with education providers to embed green skills within their curriculums and provide more green skills courses
  • work with employers to identify training and employment opportunities for local residents
  • lobby government for more funding to address skills provision gaps.