Green Jobs Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Green jobs ambitions

1.There is no single definition, nor single way to measure green jobs. The Government’s ambitions for accelerating the number of green jobs over the 2020s are welcome, but without a clear definition and metric, the Government will be unable to assess whether its policies are leading to good quality, green jobs in the sectors and regions they are needed. (Paragraph 19)

2.We recommend that, by the end of 2021, the Government set out how it will measure progress towards its green jobs targets; this should include its definition of ‘green jobs’, and how it will measure the number, type and location of these over the 2020s, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating the impact of its policies. (Paragraph 20)

3.‘Green jobs’ is a cross-cutting issue, requiring action across Government alongside co-ordination with local authorities and the devolved administrations to deliver the Government’s ambitions. Clear lines of responsibility and a mechanism for co-ordination are needed, otherwise green jobs risks being given insufficient priority within departments, constraining the Government’s efforts to develop the green jobs and skills needed in the economy. (Paragraph 26)

4.We recommend that the Government, in its response to this report, set out its arrangements for cross-departmental delivery of green jobs and skills ambitions, identifying:

a)each department’s responsibilities;

b)how it will monitor and co-ordinate delivery across departments; and

c)how it will collaborate with the devolved administrations and local authorities.

We recommend that these arrangements include tasking the cabinet committees on climate action with overseeing the delivery of green jobs and skills actions across Government, ensuring that this includes oversight of departments’ actions on green jobs and skills less directly related to climate action, such as those in nature or the circular economy. (Paragraph 27)

5.Departments need to understand the delivery costs for their green jobs responsibilities to ensure their spending plans include sufficient allocation for this. Any analysis of environmental skills needs in local government needs to be accompanied by an assessment of the funding requirements for the green jobs and skills that are needed within local authorities to deliver local government’s responsibilities towards the Government’s climate and nature objectives. (Paragraph 35)

6.We recommend that by the end of 2021 the department or body with overall responsibility for delivery of the Government’s green jobs policies should, in collaboration with the different departments engaged in green jobs policy, assign indicative costings to each department’s actions within the overall green jobs delivery plan. This should include the Government’s assessment of the funding requirements for green jobs and skills needed within local authorities to deliver the Government’s climate and nature objectives. (Paragraph 36)

Jobs and skills needed for a green covid-19 recovery

7.Just 1 per cent of Kickstart scheme jobs were in green sectors. While we understand the need to support current industries, we consider that an opportunity has been missed for a greener employment recovery scheme, to contribute towards the Government’s ‘building back greener’ aims. (Paragraph 43)

8.We recommend that the Government’s net zero and environmental goals are considered at the design stage of future labour market interventions, to ensure that such interventions are fully aligned with the green recovery. (Paragraph 44)

9.We first recommended that the Government pilot a National Nature Service in our report ‘Growing back better: putting nature and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery’. The Government’s response did not engage directly with this proposal. A National Nature Service would build valuable capacity in the nature sector while providing people with wider employment skills, helping to deliver a green recovery. An established national scheme, rather than one-off funding, would help capacity in the longer term and could have wider reach. (Paragraph 54)

10.We reiterate the recommendation from our earlier report that the Government should work with conservation organisations to pilot a National Nature Service during 2022. (Paragraph 55)

11.The voucher element of the Green Homes Grant scheme, the Government’s recent flagship scheme to address covid-19 impact while stimulating jobs in the green sector of home retrofit for energy efficiency, was not a success, and may even have put people out of work; there is a need to rebuild trust with the retrofit sector. Lack of engagement with the industry over the design of the scheme led to it being sub-optimal, resulting in a fragmented and actively disruptive approach to developing skills in a vital sector. The Government has acknowledged that the voucher scheme has not operated as intended in this respect. (Paragraph 64)

12.We recommend that the Government’s own analysis into the Green Homes Grant voucher scheme be completed during 2021 to ensure lessons learned inform future schemes’ designs, and include a plan for industry engagement, to rebuild trust. (Paragraph 65)

13.The scale of the challenge to retrofit homes is significant, as recognised by the Government when launching the Green Homes Grant scheme, claiming it would create 100,000 green jobs. With millions of homes requiring retrofitting to achieve decarbonisation through improved insulation alongside electrification by heat pump installation, or, in due course, potentially hydrogen insertion into the gas grid, the industry requires substantial upskilling and an increase in the trained workforce across the UK. (Paragraph 66)

14.In line with our recommendation for a national retrofit strategy in our Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes report, by the end of 2021 the Government needs to set out a programme to encourage the development of relevant skills across the construction trade, including small and medium-sized enterprises, to stimulate development of skilled trades to increase the capacity markedly. (Paragraph 67)

Long-term environmental goals and a just transition to net zero

15.We have heard concerns that skills shortages will affect delivery of the Government’s long-term environmental goals, as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan. It is welcome that Defra are currently working on a Skills Gap Plan to identify where there are skills shortages and collaborating with other departments on this. (Paragraph 72)

16.We recommend that Defra’s Skills Gap Plan cover all areas of the 25 Year Environment Plan and be accompanied by an Action Plan to address skills shortages, developed in co-ordination with the Department for Education and stakeholders. The Skills Gap Plan and Action Plan ought to be published by March 2022 at the latest and aligned with Defra’s existing and forthcoming sectoral plans and strategies, such as the Waste and Resources, Clean Air, Trees, Peat and Nature strategies. (Paragraph 73)

17.We welcome the Government’s commitment to ensuring regions are not left behind in the transition. To ensure this is delivered, it is vital that the Government carry out some planning for a just transition and how the Government intends to support it. This must include plans for public engagement to maintain public support for net zero, provision for wider support such as pensions and employability support, and ensuring local skills provision and (re-)training opportunities. (Paragraph 81)

18.As action to deliver a just transition will require collaboration across Government and co-ordination with local government and the devolved administrations, the plan also needs to set out departmental responsibilities, and monitoring and co-ordinating arrangements. This plan might be included alongside the document setting out departmental responsibilities and funding, recommended in Chapter 1. The Government’s plan for a just transition should also consider replacement jobs in green sectors less directly related to net zero, such as nature and the circular economy. (Paragraph 82)

19.Some regions will be particularly affected by the transition. While the Government cannot actively manage the whole transition, it is important to assess where impacts will fall to ensure there are policies for support and replacement green jobs in place, in line with the Government’s levelling up ambitions. (Paragraph 83)

20.We recommend that a just transition plan:

a) be published by the end of 2021;

b) assess regional as well as sectoral impact, to ensure regional skills transitioning plus employment and pensions support is in place; and

c) include a strategy for maintaining public support for net zero.

As cross-departmental action is required, this plan should set out the departments or bodies co-ordinating just transition action and each department’s responsibilities, alongside plans for monitoring progress and co-ordinating with local authorities and the devolved administrations. The just transition plan should also include plans for stimulating replacement jobs in green sectors less directly related to net zero, such as nature and the circular economy. (Paragraph 84)

21.There is a risk that the net zero transition could lead to UK job and skills losses if carbon-emitting industries simply move overseas. A carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), recommended in our report ‘Growing back better: putting nature and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery’, should be considered as part of measures to address this. (Paragraph 90)

22.The Government needs to set out in its just transition plan how it will address this risk. During 2021, the Government should conduct analysis into how a UK CBAM could comply with international trade obligations. (Paragraph 91)

Education and skills pipeline

23.In school, education on climate change and environmental sustainability is limited to a few subjects. It is important that it is included across all courses to give all students a basic grounding in environmental issues and to show how their subjects can be useful in tacking environmental challenges, whatever sector they go on to work in. This will ensure the future UK workforce is climate and sustainability literate. A greater awareness of environment and sustainability across the population could lead to increased diversity of people entering green sectors, contributing to the Government’s ambitions for a more diverse and inclusive green workforce. (Paragraph 101)

24.We recommend that environmental sustainability be included across all primary and secondary courses delivered through the National Curriculum and across A Level courses. Teachers should be supported to deliver this, with teacher training and continuous professional development. We recommend that the Department for Education consult all relevant stakeholders during the 2021/22 academic year on the delivery of this recommendation. (Paragraph 102)

25.Our previous report on biodiversity in the UK identified that education could provide a crucial lever to address inequalities in access to nature. The Government’s Children and Nature Programme went some way in increasing access opportunities for schoolchildren, however the programme is due to end in March 2022. We consider this misses an opportunity to build on the successes of the programme through expanding the programme, to further widen access to nature in education and contribute to building a future green skills pipeline by attracting more young people into green careers. (Paragraph 103)

26.By the end of January 2022, the Government should engage with delivery partners and schools in order to extend the Children and Nature programme beyond March 2022 and expand the number of delivery projects within the programme, using the evaluation project findings to inform the design and implementation of this expansion. (Paragraph 104)

27.Apprenticeships are a fast way to bring new skills into a workplace, but climate and environmental sustainability issues are not embedded across them. If they were, this would allow apprentices to apply this knowledge directly to their jobs, addressing employer green skills gaps. This should be extended to the new T Level courses too. (Paragraph 112)

28.We recommend that a module on environmental sustainability be included in every apprenticeship and T Level course. The Government should consult with stakeholders during the 2021/22 academic year on how to implement this. (Paragraph 113)

29.Extending the equivalent or lower funding rule exemption to full-time science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and geographical and environmental courses would allow quicker retraining in higher level skills needed in the future green economy. (Paragraph 121)

30.We recommend that the Government extend the equivalent or lower funding rule exemption to full-time STEM and geographical and environmental courses from 2022/23. (Paragraph 122)

31.Without closely monitoring current and future skills needs and shortages across the net zero transition, there is a risk that today’s courses and training are not addressing the demands of the future. This monitoring needs to be ongoing, to respond to changes in the economy over the course of the transition. We are particularly concerned that, without such monitoring and planning, the future demand for technical and practical green skills might exceed the available training provision in further education. (Paragraph 131)

32.We recommend that by the end of 2021, the Skills and Productivity Board, or similar body, is tasked with ongoing monitoring of skills needs, with regular periodic reviews, to ensure forward-looking and responsive skills planning which encompasses the needs of the economy in reaching the Government’s net zero and long-term environmental ambitions. (Paragraph 132)

Diversity, inclusion and access to green jobs

33.To be able to monitor whether its ambitions to increase diversity and inclusion in the green workforce are being achieved, the Government needs to articulate these ambitions in a measurable way and have a metric for measuring diversity and inclusion in the green workforce. (Paragraph 139)

34.By the end of 2021, the Government should set out its ambitions for improving diversity and inclusion in the green workforce and set out how it will measure diversity and inclusion in green jobs, for the purpose of monitoring and evaluating progress towards its aims. (Paragraph 140)

35.Something that has not been considered in the Green Jobs Taskforce report recommendations is the wider enabling infrastructure which allows people to physically access green job opportunities, such as public transport, care and rural broadband connectivity. This will involve co-ordination across the Government. This wider infrastructure needs to be factored into the Government’s green jobs and just transition delivery plans from the outset; if people are unable to physically access green job opportunities, this could undermine not just the Government’s ambitions for the number of people seeking and successfully entering green jobs, but also its ambitions for a just transition and diversity and inclusion in the green workforce. (Paragraph 144)

36.The Government’s green jobs and just transition delivery plans should include analysis of the enabling infrastructure needed for people to access new green jobs, and allocate actions to the departments with responsibilities over this infrastructure. (Paragraph 145)

37.There is a gap in the public’s awareness of green job opportunities and how to access them. It is welcome that the Government acknowledges the importance of green careers advice, however the Government’s latest Careers Strategy (2017) pre-dates both its net zero (2019) and 25 Year Environment Plan (2018) ambitions, and needs to be updated so that careers advice can play its role in delivering these. (Paragraph 154)

38.By the end of 2021, the Government should set out how it will adapt its Careers Strategy to align with its net zero and environmental goals, including how it will reach different groups of the population to increase awareness of green job opportunities and how to access them, such as through its careers and youth hubs and Jobcentre Plus. (Paragraph 155)

Published: 25 October 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement