The UK’s first regional skills plan is to be developed in the North West to ensure young people can fully benefit from green jobs

The UK’s first regional skills plan is to be developed in the North West to ensure young people can fully benefit from an influx in green jobs.

Businesses and academic institutions, including Manchester Metropolitan University, have set up a new pan-regional group to tackle the issue of creating a 660,000-strong workforce that will help reduce carbon emissions.

It will work up a plan of practical measures to support both younger generations and those already in work into new, green jobs as they emerge.

The group will develop a Net Zero Skills Charter, which will identify and address the skills gaps and put an action plan in place to make sure business and industry have access to the talent they need to successfully transition to and succeed in a net zero economy.

Professor Malcolm Press CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “Net zero is a huge opportunity, not only to create a better future for our planet, but to create thousands of better futures for our people.

“The North West, once the cradle of the industrial revolution, can once again lead our nation and our world in imagining and creating a prosperous future.

“The challenge now is for businesses and educators, such as Manchester Metropolitan University, to work together to design and deliver the training and education needed to deliver a 660,000-strong workforce.”

With the UK needing to meet legally-binding carbon targets, wide-ranging interventions are planned to cut emissions across all sectors.

The skills plan will set out the jobs and skills needed to deliver planned interventions and investment in areas such as power generation; transport; homes and buildings; and industry.

Other jobs will stem from enabling decarbonisation – such as science and climate change innovation – as well as climate adaption, such as flood defences, retrofitting buildings and engineering of structures to adapt to increasing temperatures.

Research by Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Net Zero North West (NZNW), and North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT) identified that a skills plan will be critical to managing the transition to net zero to make sure students, individuals, and businesses prosper as the UK addresses the climate change challenge.

The report identifies the skills requirements in the North West for a net zero industrial cluster and outlines the opportunities and challenges that need to be addressed to futureproof the North West economy.

Carl Ennis, Chair of Net Zero North West and CEO, Siemens GB&I, said: “The North West is already leading the UK’s net zero future, slashing carbon emissions and carving a new path by creating a green industrial economy with a workforce of over 660,000. But, the availability of the right skills will be a significant risk to reaching our climate goals if we don’t act now.

“We’re spearheading a joined-up approach between industry, education and the region’s elected leaders to make sure we have the right people and skills available at the right time to benefit from a wave of green jobs on the horizon.

“Such a joined-up approach, through a Net Zero Skills Charter, will ensure we set the blueprint for how to train and retain low carbon talent in the region, and then export that expertise out to the rest of the UK, Europe and the world.”


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