Energy & Utility Skills comments on the Skills for Jobs White Paper

Chief Executive Phil Beach urges the Government to align its immediate skills priorities to the delivery of its ambitious targets for net zero and the climate emergency

In response to the publication of the Skills for Jobs White Paper, Phil Beach, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills, said:

“The Skills for Jobs White Paper is another significant and welcome step towards providing a world-class post-16 education system in England. The energy and utilities sector faces a skills shortage over the next decade and welcomes the ambition for a market-led system with closer links to employers.

It is equally positive that the Skills for Jobs White Paper places strong emphasis on adult upskilling and reskilling. If Government is to realise its ambitious plan to build back greener and achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it must focus on the immediate challenges of delivering skilled workers for the UK’s transition to net zero. It is imperative that this area receives the highest priority in the short term.

“The Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership (EUSP) published its Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy 2020-2025 highlighting the need to fill 277,000 vacancies in the sector over the next decade for both new and existing jobs. The sector is in the vanguard of delivering the net zero carbon targets set by Government, which means urgent action is needed. The provision of a properly funded and coherent system of technical education that meets the needs of both adults and young people is essential.

“The sector recruits thousands of technical apprentices every year and needs to have high-quality apprenticeship programmes for the next generation. The sector’s demand for a skilled workforce is immediate. New skills need to be developed quickly and whether the individual is a future apprentice or student of technical qualifications, work-based learning is critical; we need to train the trainers of tomorrow.

“The ambition and direction which the Skills for Jobs White Paper lays out is welcomed. However, the skills gap in the energy and utilities sector needs to be filled quickly, so we urge the Government to align its immediate skills priorities to the delivery of its ambitious targets for net zero and the climate emergency.”