Insight: Addressing the green skills challenge

6 Jun 2024

The urgent green skills challenge needs addressing, our Energy Academies are on the frontline of the response, writes Tom Hoines, Director at Reed Environment.

Electrification of energy, heating and transport, building the houses we need and updating the UK’s infrastructure all have one thing in common – the need for a major, urgent boost to our skilled trades workforce.

Checkatrade’s latest UK Trade Skills Index found that by 2032 the UK will need a minimum of 34,000 new plumbing apprenticeships and 48,000 electrical apprenticeships completed just to prevent current skills shortages getting worse.

The challenge is so great because the need to turbocharge recruitment and training in  the skilled trades to deliver Net Zero by 2050 comes on top of historical and existing shortages in these roles, which are due to increase further as older workers retire.

Skills shortage vacancies are higher amongst skilled trades occupations than any other group – making up 51% of all vacancies compared with 28% of managers. Within this, the electrical and electronic trades have one of the highest skills shortage vacancy densities, at 64%. If we don’t have enough fully-qualified electricians, then the rapid electrification of the UK needed to deliver Net Zero is going to be out of our reach.

Our energy academies: the green skills engines of the future

This is why Reed Environment is working with leading energy training and assessment provider OEA to play its part in building the skilled trades workforce of the future.

Our fully equipped energy academy in Oxford, which is rated good by Ofsted, and now our brand new East Anglia Energy Academy, offer a wider range of electrical, gas, plumbing, oil and renewable energy skills training and apprenticeships. They are accredited end point assessment centres, meaning you can complete your training and assessment in the same place and receive wrap-around support along the way.

Visit the OEA website to see what we can offer to young people, career-changers, those upskilling and employers in the region.

Let’s put green jobs firmly in the mainstream of the career choices of young people and everyone looking to harness the potential of these vital trades – together we can lay the foundations for the green economy of the future.

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