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The Green Skills for Green Jobs summit returns for its fourth year to provide a unique platform for Business, Government and Academia to establish what progress we've made towards ensuring the UK workforce is prepared to compete for global Green Jobs of the future. This years summit is focusing on 'Powering the UK into the 21st Century' and is once again hosted at the QEII Conference Centre, Westminster on November 27th.

The green economy is now worth more than £120bn a year and was one of the very few areas of the economy to experience growth in 2012. However, significant investment in skills and staff development is required to guarantee schemes like the Green Deal sustain momentum and create even further opportunities.

Low carbon business spans across many areas including manufacturing, energy, waste management, building, research and financial services; the sector currently has more employees than the teaching profession. Business officials are calling on the Government to stand by its commitment to be the ‘Greenest government ever’ and to ensure that the policies that the Prime Minister is passionate about are echoed by senior officials in Whitehall.

The core skills that are essential to developing our green economy are mainly centred around the STEM subjects, science, technology, engineering and maths. Unions are doing a lot of work to encourage more take up and recognition of the importance of these subjects so that workers are fully equipped to do their job in the most sustainable way. Should STEM take precedence over other subjects in the national curriculum to guarantee more interest at a younger age? 

The transition to a green economy requires a workforce with the right skills. There is clear recognition by the UK Government and industry that tackling climate change, securing future energy supplies and making a permanent transition to a low carbon, high growth economy is an urgent and vital task. Without a skilled green workforce, the UK will continually follow in the footsteps of international counterparts. The spotlight is particularly on the nuclear industries approach to developing workforce and enhancing skills as an example of international best practice. Nuclear skills training is being recognised as the UK’s golden opportunity to be in pole position of the global low carbon skills race.

As many as 1.3 million people in the UK could be working in green jobs by 2017, however, green skills shortages need to be addressed in the following areas:

  • Programme and Project management
  • Construction Project Management
  • Research and development
  • Green construction – attracting and retaining the brightest and best talent
  • New Nuclear Build – recruiting and training staff to secure our energy future. The Government want the Nuclear Industry and its approach to skills and workforce development to become an example of international best practice.
  • Steel Fixing & Safety case authorship
  • Attracting learners to embrace STEM careers by highlighting the opportunities available in the 
  • Renewables sector.

Initial proposals to secure the necessary skills for a green economy resulted in a number of commitments made by DECC, DEFRA and BIS that encouraged businesses to plan for future skills needs. However, the partnership between government, business, trade unions, colleges, training providers and their national agencies needs to be reinforced if these commitments are to be fulfilled. The scale of the challenge and the obstacles we face in establishing the UK’s green skilled workforce are clear. If we can overcome these challenges, the prize is to be a global front runner in the shift to a low carbon economy and to take a huge chunk of the £3.3 trillion a year global green market.

Green Skills for Green Jobs is the only event which focuses solely on Green Skills and the role they play in strengthening the UK’s low carbon economy. This annual summit will provide participants with a platform to demonstrate their contribution to this agenda. Whilst networking with suppliers who are at the forefront of green skills training and development, the summit will also focus projects and partnerships that are making a significant contribution to the UK’s low carbon prosperity.