Tim Balcon Welcomes IPPR Research Document

Posted: Thursday 12th November 2009

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) is warning that decisive action needs to be taken to make the UK workforce ‘climate ready’ or we run the real risk of not being able to compete in a low carbon global economy. They point that the necessary skills will vary from job to job to achieve this.

Today’s warning was published in the IPPR’s new document titled The Future’s Green: Jobs and the UK Low Carbon Transition. It also come as government prepares to publish its plans to overhaul the UK skills system before the end of the year.

Speaking about today’s warning, the Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, Tim Balcon, said:

“Where we are today and where we need to be in the next ten to 15-years are polars apart. For too long the public perception about a low carbon UK has been based almost exclusively on consumer consumption and adjusting lifestyles to achieve this. However, unless we have a workforce in place that is fit for purpose to deliver a low carbon approach to industry then everything else that follows could almost be piece-meal.

“Energy & Utility Skills works on behalf of the gas, power, waste management and water industries and through our work, we and the industry employers know that a future workforce covering these areas need to be radically different.

“One significant area of our work covers workforce planning for the future and from this, for example, we already know that by the year 2024, only 15-years away, the power industry alone will need a massive seven-fold increase in its workforce to deliver the 45GW of renewable generation needed to meet ambitious targets.

“To compound this challenge, we have also published research that we carried out that tells us that the public perception of jobs in this industry of young people is on the floor. So, not only do we need to fill a massive skills shortage in the medium term, young people entering the workforce have a very negative perception about jobs available.

“Similar stories could be told across all the industries we represent and we are now working with employers and sector bodies to produce a cross-industry skills strategy which will go a long way to making clear all the challenges we need to address.

“This is an issue that we cannot simply put on the back boiler in the hopes that things will work itself out. They won’t.

“We don’t only need a workforce fit for purpose, we want a workforce that will become a world-leader in moving to a more low carbon approach in terms of energy supply.”




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