Generation UK and Macquarie’s Skilling for Net Zero report

The challenge

The research is consistent.  A green economic transition in the UK is creating and will create tremendous net-new job opportunities.  PWC  estimates that the number of green jobs advertised in the UK has tripled in the last year, growing at four times the average rate. Longer term, National Grid, as just one example, estimates the energy industry will need 400,000 new jobs for net zero by 2050.  Supply is already behind demand.  65% of c.60 ‘green’ employers surveyed by Generation early 2021 confirmed it was already (very) hard finding skilled new hires, mimicking Learning & Work’s research which found the same %. And as the economy evolves, new and unpredicted gaps will emerge.

But there is a mismatch between supply and demand.  There are >1m unemployed people in the UK – only 20% of whom find work each quarter – as well as many working in declining sectors.  And this unemployment is experienced disproportionately by specific groups, notably young people, ethnic minorities, those with disabilities, and people without degrees are twice or more as likely to be unemployed.  And when out of work there is ‘scarring’; being out of work for more than a year quarters your chance of finding work soon.  

Established channels including apprenticeships and degrees have an important role to play in tackling this dual challenge of net zero skilling and social mobility.  However, it is clear they are not scaling and will not scale fast enough.  More innovative initiatives are needed. 

The answer

Generation, Macquarie and the Retrofit Academy’s Retrofit Advisor bootcamp – launched in 2021 and scaling rapidly  – is a promising solution

It also shares the key learnings from the journey to launch and scale the programme, urging those taking on this challenge to…

Go beyond the headlines on future skills gaps. Engage deeply with employers to identify real, detailed skills gaps 

  • There are still only a few specific areas with acute, scaled demand for entry-level skills.  Here new bootcamp-style training programmes can play a role.

Experiment and be active with outreach and promotion

  • There is still a low level of understanding of ‘green jobs’ and ‘retrofit’ in particular amongst those facing barriers to employment (c.90% of young people don’t know what green skills are). Careful and extensive, widespread messaging is crucial for overcoming a lack of awareness, scepticism and the ‘unknown’ of these new careers – a crucial learning for both the sector and providers.

Respond with agility, iterate curricula and plans

  • New programmes will never be perfect first time, especially when launched in new sectors or targeting emerging jobs, and programmes cannot stand still as economies and skills needs evolve.  Iteration is necessary and will drive better outcomes.

Secure and provide catalytic, up-front investment and support

  • Launching new training programmes requires a significant investment of time and resources before day one.

Build partnerships and collaborate across sectors.

  • Partnerships with organisations across sectors have been fundamental at every stage of the journey