The green economy holds huge potential but skills shortages are currently putting the brakes on achieving climate goals, according to a new report by London Councils.
The Green Skills report from London Councils mapped London government skills activity to help cut carbon emissions and achieve net zero. It sought to identify gaps, duplication and areas that need better co-ordination, as well as setting out some of the main skills challenges and opportunities in the green economy.
Green jobs can be found across many sectors of London’s economy, with four key sectors providing much of this growth – construction, power, low carbon transport and green finance. The number of green jobs is expected to grow by 505,000 by 2030 and almost quadruple to over a million jobs by 2050.
However, many industries and occupations are experiencing skills shortages. These include the construction industry, where there is a growing need for workers to retrofit homes and buildings to make them more energy efficient, and in the industry to install and maintain Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure.
Despite boroughs’ drive to scale up green economic activity through the £54m Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and via a £40m investment to increase Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure across the capital, lack of skilled workers is hampering progress.
Many London organisations are already committing to developing the green economy through skills. They are creating officer networks, conducting research to inform their work and providing training courses.
However, the report also reveals that London boroughs and other organisations in the capital are being held back due to resource and capacity restraints. Lack of long term funding to invest in the green economy is the main challenge, as well as the need for more joined-up working and a long-term strategy for building London’s green economy.
The report recommends developing a net zero skills strategy and action plan over the next five years for London. It also suggests joint lobbying between London Councils and the GLA to ask Government to set out a clear policy plan to increase green skills while also providing further devolution to local government to stimulate the green economy from the ground up.
Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, London Councils’ Executive Member for Skills and Employment, said, “London boroughs are committed to achieving net zero and doubling the size of the green economy by 2030. There is so much potential for driving economic growth and giving Londoners of all backgrounds access to jobs as we transition to a low carbon way of living. But the lack of investment in green skills is putting the brakes on these plans.
“The Green Skills report shows why we need a real focus and long term funding for green skills. We also need clear strategic direction from national government so the whole country is pulling together on developing the green economy, as well as greater devolution to councils so we have the powers and autonomy to get things done. Boroughs have already installed over 15,000 EV charge points, so we know we can deliver.
“It is vital we create a green economy that works for all of our diverse communities. Green skills are crucial to achieving net zero in the coming decades and we need to invest now if we are to create the skilled workers and thriving green industries we need for the future.”