One in 10 UK workers need reskilling for green COVID-19 recovery

29th June 2020


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Rukayat Alli-Oluwafuyi

One in 10 UK workers will need access to new skills and training if the economy is to successfully transition to net-zero emissions following the coronavirus crisis.

That is according to research published today by UK100 – a coalition of over 100 local government leaders.

The group said that 2,177,601 workers will need reskilling, and that a total of 4,027,287 jobs in England will be impacted by the shift to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Cities with a higher number of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) residents, and manufacturing heartlands, will need the most additional support.

In response, UK100 has established a 'Resilient Recovery Taskforce' of 24 mayors and local leaders, representing 25 million people, calling on the chancellor to commit to a 'New Deal for Green Skills and Growth' in his next stimulus package.

This comes on the same day that the Green Alliance published a report suggesting that an additional £14bn is needed every year for the UK to meet its climate commitments.

“The government has a once in a generation opportunity to stimulate a green economic recovery to allow the UK to meet our net zero target by 2050,“ said Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council and chair of the UK100 Resilient Recovery Taskforce.

“The chancellor's stimulus package must include measures to replace lost jobs with green jobs, re-train workers so they can access these jobs, and power the new green economy both Leeds and the UK need.“

UK100 highlighted how the government has announced £27bn of investment for motorways and major roads, compared to just £5bn for buses, cycling and walking over the next five years.

It found that the cities with the highest percentage of workers in need of reskilling have more than twice the average number of BAME residents.

The top 10 areas with jobs that will be most affected by a low-carbon transition are in the Midlands, North West and Yorkshire, while real estate, transportation and mining sectors will be the hardest hit.

However, the group's research also suggests that 1,849,686 workers who already have green skills will be more in demand during the low-carbon transition.

“This research shows that it is not enough to just simply unlock the economy, we need a proactive, values led approach to drive a sustainable and inclusive recovery,“ said Marvin Rees, the mayor of Bristol.

“This will help us deliver the vital green infrastructure we need to meet carbon neutrality targets and rebuild the economy in a way that avoids future climate shocks.“

Image credit: iStock

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