Construction Green Skills Gap ‘Puts Net Zero Goals At Risk’

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Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Construction Green Skills Gap ‘Puts Net Zero Goals At Risk’

Construction Green Skills Gap ‘Puts Net Zero Goals At Risk’

The construction industry is central to the government’s plans to achieve net zero climate emissions by the year 2050, but a new report has suggested that the persistently large green skills gaps, coupled with skills shortages, may make it hard for these ambitions to be realised.

The IPPR Progressive Policy Think Tank report shows that over the next 15 years, up to 750,000 construction workers could either retire or be on the verge of retiring and not enough work is being done to replace them.

Just 20.3 per cent of workers in the sector are under the age of 30 and, as such, efforts must now be made to recruit, train and retain a workforce in order to facilitate a green recovery.

It was found that there are numerous key issues hindering progress where construction skills are concerned, such as a lack of collective action.

The fragmentation of the sector means that accountability for skills and employment is spread across a wide range of different organisations and businesses, which means it is difficult to ensure that incentives designed to drive training and employment are not properly aligned with reality.

Another problem the industry faces is that there is an infrastructure investment gap, which extends to the issues of skills and employment. In order to keep the further education sector going, an additional £6 billion of revenue funding is required.

And a lack of leadership with regards to skills and employment was also identified at all levels of government and industry. The report authors called on the government to take the green skills crisis seriously and start investing in further education, as well as matching net zero ambitions with investment in decarbonisation.

“From retrofitting homes to improve energy efficiency to building world-beating major infrastructure projects that stem the tide of carbon emissions; everything starts and ends with the people and firms that will build, maintain and operate our net zero infrastructure. 

“The civil engineering sector is at the heart of these efforts, creating the major infrastructure assets that make our towns and cities cleaner and greener,” the report observed.

Back in August last year, the government announced £1.3 billion in funding to deliver up to 45,000 homes, create up to 85,000 jobs and upgrade both skills and infrastructure in order to help drive the green economic recovery.

In addition, a £360 million investment was also confirmed in Mayoral Combined Authority areas to deliver an additional 26,000 new homes, and £8 million in funding was announced to accelerate delivery of new properties on brownfield sites.

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