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Skills and Net Zero (Expert Advisory Group)

1. Outline

This publication forms the Chair’s report for the independent Expert Advisory Group convened by the CCC to support its work on the A Net Zero workforce report. The Expert Advisory Group provided input into this report, and fed into the Chair’s report.

The Chair’s report examines the skills and education system in the context of the UK’s transition to Net Zero. It sets out the policy and provision of Net Zero skills across the UK, assesses how well this is aligned with current and future needs and sets out recommendations for government on how to better support the entirety of the skills system in the transition to Net Zero.

The Group consisted of:

  • (Chair) Prof Dave Reay – University of Edinburgh
  • Julia Barrett – Willmott Dixon
  • Dustin Benton – Green Alliance
  • Sue Ferns – Prospect
  • Yvonne Kelly – East London Institute of Technology
  • Professor Stephen Machin – LSE
  • Mika Minio and Anna Markova (job-share) – TUC
  • Nick Molho – Aldersgate Group
  • Mary Thorogood – Net Zero Technology Centre

2. Key messages

The key messages from the Chair’s report are:

  • Skills are a fundamental enabler of Net Zero. No policy aimed at realising Net Zero can succeed without having people in place with the right skills to deliver on it.
  • Schools. Across the four nations of the UK there is already an emphasis on embedding climate and sustainability learning in school curricula. Work now needs further coordination and support from government, including additional investment in staff development and the embedding of Net Zero in careers guidance.
  • Further education colleges. While many colleges are already providing some form of Net Zero training, current investment in Further Education in the UK appears to be badly out of step with that demanded by the magnitude and pace of the transition to Net Zero; funding should be reviewed.
  • Universities have a major role to play in providing the high-level education and training the workforce of the UK and other nations will need to accelerate the transition to Net Zero. Although most universities have committed to reducing emissions from their estates and activities, few have fully embedded Net Zero into their learning provision.
  • Coordination of the ‘wider skills and learning system’. Many employers are already working with colleges and other education providers to meet changing needs in a particular region or sector. Coordination of in-depth Net Zero skills assessments to inform action at local and regional scales, is, however, worryingly fragmented.
  • Apprenticeships. Apprenticeships have an important role to play, but a lack of flexibility in the Apprenticeship Levy may be hindering their effectiveness in meeting the demands of Net Zero.