Where is the green skills revolution in Levelling Up?
Following the publication of the UK Government’s Levelling Up White paper today (2 Feb 2022) Cara Jenkinson, Cities Manager at climate charity Ashden said:
“We are pleased to see the emphasis on skills and devolution in the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper released today but we are really surprised and disappointed to see the absence of green skills and commitments connected to net-zero.
“This White Paper comes hot on the heels of COP26, where heartfelt commitments were made by government on climate action. The government could have used this chance to kickstart a green industrial revolution throughout the UK and but it has not. We really don’t have time to watch our leaders miss opportunities like this.
“As highlighted in a new report ‘Road to Zero Carbon: council actions on green jobs and skills’ report published today by Friends of the Earth and Ashden, councils have a deep understanding of local needs and challenges which puts them in a unique position to bring employers and colleges together to deliver local green jobs quickly. But without a long-term funding commitment from government to support this work, together with a genuine devolution of power, the green skills revolution will be patchy, with many parts of the country left behind.
“The White Paper sets out twelve medium term missions, to serve as an anchor for levelling up policy. We call for a thirteenth mission – By 2030, every area in the UK will be delivering reductions to carbon emissions and restoring nature in line with the Committee on Climate Change’s carbon budgets.”
To achieve this mission, the climate charity insist that: Government must empower and fund local authorities to deliver green skills training and decent green jobs; Councils must be represented on the government’s new green jobs delivery group; there must be funding to skill up local authority officers across all department on climate action and further devolution of skills funding. Lastly and most importantly the government should work with local authorities to identify the areas across the UK at particular risk of business closures and jobs losses in the transition to net zero and develop targeted support to enable a fair transition for these areas to avoid the risk of left-behind communities.
Ashden work with local authorities and businesses around the UK to address the need for rapid green upskilling across all sectors in order to decarbonise at speed.
For more information see Green skills in the UK – Ashden