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UK regional skills plan to prepare for a surge of green industry jobs

 

The UK’s first regional skills plan will start in the North West, ensuring the next generation can capitalise on the rise of green industry jobs. A collaboration between businesses and academic institutions has created a regional group to tackle the challenge of delivering a workforce exceeding 600,000 to support reducing carbon emissions. The group will create a detailed plan that assists young people and employees already working on new green opportunities as they appear.

The group will create a Net Zero Skills Charter, identifying and exploring the skills gap and aiming to deliver an action plan to ensure businesses and industries can find the talent needed to transition toward a net-zero economy. Malcolm Press, the VC of Manchester Metropolitan University, explains that net-zero represents an opportunity to create a better future for our world and a chance to create a better future for people. Once a strong industrial hub, the North-West can become a regional leader in net-zero-focused industries. The main challenge now is focused on businesses and educational institutions working together to create the necessary training and information for such a significant workforce.

With a range of legally-binding targets in place, several new projects require emission reductions across all industries. The skills plan will include what jobs and skills are needed to support the projects and investment plans for the future across various markets. 

Studies by Manchester University, in collaboration with Net Zero North West and the North West Business Leadership Team, determined that a skills plan is essential to support a transition to net-zero. The skills plan ensures students, local communities and businesses can progress and address the climate challenge.

The report details the skills required in the North West for a net-zero industrial hub, highlighting the opportunities and challenges we must face to futureproof the region. Carl Ennis, the Chair of Net-Zero North West and CEO of Siemens GB&I, believes the North West is already a leader in the net-zero future, creating a new path for a green industrial economy. Ennis points out, however, that the availability of the necessary skills is a potential risk to achieving our climate goals. Ennis explains that they are taking a collaborative approach between industry, education and regional leaders to ensure the North West has the right people and skills available at the right time to take advantage of the surge of new green jobs. The Net Zero Skills Charter incorporates a joined-up approach and provides a blueprint for training and retaining net-zero talent and using that experience elsewhere.

With the UK having to meet legally-binding targets, some interventions to reduce emissions across multiple industries are required. The skills plan will highlight the jobs and skills required to meet these plans and the investment needed in various areas like transport, homes and buildings. Research by Manchester University, NZNW and NWBLT determined that a skills plan was essential in managing the transition to net-zero to ensure students, communities and businesses progress as the UK tackles the climate challenge.

Professor Malcolm Press, the VC of Manchester University, states that net-zero represents a significant opportunity to create a better future for our world and generate thousands of better futures for people. While transitioning to a low-carbon economy will result in some technologies and jobs disappearing, it will create thousands of new roles and technologies. Concerted efforts to reduce emissions in all industries can create a new era of green opportunities. We must, however, provide people at work today and in the future with the necessary skills. Now is the time to implement these measures, not when low-carbon industries have been established and are struggling to recruit new talent.

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