The Johnson administration’s failure to define what a green job is, plus Britain’s widening skills gap, leave the nation’s worksforce falling short in benefitting from the economy’s low carbon transition, a Conservative-majority Parliamentary committee says.
In its latest report, the Environmental Audit Committee says that, despite Johnson targeting two million of them by 2030 in last week’s Net Zero Strategy, ministers have failed to specify what a green job is. They must take action across Whitehall to do so before the new year, the committee urges.
“Without a clear definition and metric, the government will be unable to assess whether its policies are leading to good quality, green jobs in the sectors and regions they are needed”, the EAC’s report says.
Skills shortages and regional imbalances noticeably stymie opportunities offered by the green transition which is now under way, the committee chaired by Philip Dunne MP says.
Existing re-training schemes fall short. The committee notes that just 1% of Kickstart jobs are in green sectors.
Whitehall must consult better with employers and skilled delivery partners, the report says, pointing to the fiasco which was the Green Homes Grant. The debacle led to trades employers laying off green workers, not training more of them, the report notes.
Touted by Johnson last year as likely to create 100,000 skilled green roles, poor consultation and management led to the the venture being abandoned after less than a year on Treasury orders, and with only one-sixth of its budget spent.
“The Government must ensure lessons are learned from its Green Homes Grant voucher scheme, which failed to achieve its green jobs ambitions; with millions of homes requiring retrofitting to meet decarbonisation targets, the Government urgently needs to set out a retrofit skills strategy”, the committee recommends.
Before January, Johnson’s government must spell out its programme to spur uptake of green construction skills to – in the report’s words – “increase capacity rapidly”.
The committee sets March as a deadline for DEFRA, the Department of Education and other agencies to devise an action plan addressing green skills shortages already impeding delivery of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.
In green energy alone, the International Labour Organisation calculated last week that worldwide, four jobs are now being created for every one lost in declining oil, gas and coal. Up to 25 million renewables jobs created by 2030 will outweigh the seven million lost due to the energy transition, the United Nations’ jobs body concluded jointly with renewables lobbyists IRENA.
“Some five million workers who lose their jobs will be able to find new jobs in the same occupation in another industry”, the pair’s report claims.
Read the EAC report here.