Upskilling Green Workforce Key to Reaching Net Zero Targets

Upskilling and Training Opportunities Enrich the Transition to Net Zero. Credit: ThisisEngineering RAEng
The Transition to Net Zero can be Sped up by Providing Upskilling and Training Opportunities, say Major Consultancies and Businesses

The skills gap poses problems across all industries, including the likes of energy, utilities, oil and gas. Showing a clear disparity between the skills needed compared to what’s on offer, mismatches can result in company’s and industry’s targets being missed, increasing pressure on the current workforce, inefficiency and lack of innovation and growth.

This is no different when it comes to green jobs, either. Filling positions targeted at decarbonisation and the transition to net zero is no easy task, as working towards said goals requires highly-trained professionals to facilitate the implementation of large-scale projects and support the development necessary for a successful transition to a net-zero economy. 

Upskilling and training key driver of net zero transition

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Upskilling and training opportunities each enrich the transition to net zero, plugging he gap between the increasing quantity of green jobs available and the growing skills gap preventing said posts from being filled. 

This has been highlighted in a number of studies. Addressing projects and programmes that can mitigate issues raised by a shortfall in prepared professionals for green-centric jobs, climate action charity Carbon Copy’s Chief Storyteller Isabelle Sparrow said: “We know that many of the solutions to the dangerous global heating we are experiencing right now already exist. The key issue is making sure people have the right expertise to carry out the work.

“The green jobs skills gap will only be filled when more companies, local authorities and educational institutions work together to develop high quality training programmes, like those in the examples above. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.”

This is echoed by PwC, which says in the UK specifically — although the same can be said for other geographies — the financial services sector faces an emerging green skills gap and is not moving fast enough to close it. This, the global consultancy says, is jeopardising the UK’s Net Zero goals.

The report’s investigation found the proportion of green job vacancies in the sector increased from 0.26% between 2019 and 2020 to 2.2% in 2022/23, growing from 4,900 jobs to 16,700. Due to the scale of green investment needed to meet current Net Zero goals worldwide, this growth is expected to accelerate.

“We must recognise that financial services will be a driving force underpinning the transition and we need to ensure we have the skillset there,” said Carl Sizer, Head of Regions at PwC UK. “Moreover, it’s good for the environment, good for the economy and presents an opportunity by creating opportunities that are accessible to all.

“Collaboration between government, educational institutions and the financial sector is essential to meet Net-Zero objectives and promote sustainability.”

Speaking at the end of 2023, massive training course provider Coursera’s VP EMEA Hadi Moussa added: “As we near the end of what is set to be the hottest year on record, increasing the pace at which we transition to a more sustainable economy is more urgent than ever.

“The green transition demands a workforce equipped with diverse skills in STEM. Beyond this, it will also require competencies encompassing the human skills needed to navigate the green economy — with its associated political, economic, and interpersonal implications — and the changing world of work. Without these vital skills, the green transition will not be realised.”

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