Skills shortages risk low-carbon economy

28th April 2015

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Energy ,
  • Construction ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Training ,
  • CPD


Emma Shearing

A lack of STEM graduates will hamper low-carbon innovation across the economy, causing the UK to miss out on growth worth £6.7 billion a year, finds a new report.

Engineering growth – enabling world-class entrepreneurship in the low-carbon economy warns that by 2023 there will be a shortfall of 50,000 graduates a year with science, technology, engineering and maths skills.

The report, which was commissioned by Shell Springboard, which funds innovative low-carbon technologies, states: “Having the right skills in the economy will be essential to enabling the UK to maximise the low-carbon opportunity. Given that much of the innovation required by the low-carbon transition is technological in nature, engineering and science skills are essential to a successful low-carbon energy transition.”

It also warns that the UK lacks the entrepreneurial culture that is essential to converting technical skills into actionable and proven business opportunities. It says that, although the green energy industry in the UK produced double the number of “spin-outs” from universities as the US between 2000 and 2013 relative to GDP, they raised less than half the equity their American counterparts did.

Professor Erkko Autio from Imperial College business school, who led the team that produced the report, said: “This research shows that we not only need new technologies, but also new business models and new entrepreneurial attitudes. A new breed of entrepreneurs will be spearheading such innovation, from university spin-outs to individual entrepreneurs, and we must do everything we can to ensure their scale-up performance is the best it can be.”

The report recommends reform of education to improve technical and entrepreneurial skills and greater policy stability to support investment certainty in the low-carbon sector. It also says big businesses need to be encouraged to support viable low-carbon innovation.

The call to expand the number of graduates with STEM skills comes as the IEMA campaign to bridge the sustainability skills gap secured the backing of its 40th sponsor, civil engineering business VolkerWessels.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Four in five shoppers willing to pay ‘sustainability premium’

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close