The UK is drastically short of the skills needed to build a low-carbon economy – particularly those linked to making our homes more energy efficient. Warming our homes is a major source of emissions. To hit climate targets we need to upgrade, or ‘retrofit’, nearly 11 million homes by 2035. But we simply don’t have the workforce to take on the job.
The benefits of backing green skills are enormous. Support for green skills tackles the climate crisis, takes on fuel poverty, and powers good green jobs. New opportunities for young people, marginalised groups or those in less wealthy areas – including communities currently reliant on fossil-fuel industries – will drive a just transition, reducing inequality as well as emissions.
Local authorities have a key role to play. Councils understand their residents’ needs, bring local stakeholders together, and are eager to create better housing, better places and thriving local economies that benefit all.
The new technologies, visionary partnerships and bold approaches that can tackle this challenge already exist. If we scale these solutions up, and put more power in the hands of councils and the communities they work with, radical change is possible.
Backing green skills is essential for councils looking to reach ambitious climate targets. But many authorities lack resources and expertise in this area. Our tools, networks, insights and case studies help them learn from each other and adopt best practice. We will be building on this to enable councils to work more effectively with small businesses, colleges, and the sector experts offering training schemes, green apprenticeships and funding solutions.
We need a nationwide skills revolution to create green jobs and low-carbon economies. This means sustained investment in training, steps to stimulate demand and much more. It’s time to drop the stop-start approaches that discourage businesses and potential trainees from entering the retrofit sector.
Ashden and our partners are calling for urgent government action on the issue. In particular, we are calling for a skills approach in line with a just transition. This means maximising the social impact of skills investment – and channelling support to the areas, communities and individuals that need it most.
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