A discussion about green skills transformation with the Shadow Energy Minister and MP for Southampton, Dr Alan Whitehead.

At a breakfast roundtable session hosted this morning, IEMA’s policy team brought together several members to discuss green skills transformation with the Shadow Energy Minister, Dr Alan Whitehead MP. In this blog, IEMA’s Head of Policy Ben Goodwin sets out some of the key points from the discussion.

Dr Alan Whitehead MP
Shadow Energy Minister, Dr Alan Whitehead MP

The roundtable included attendees from a variety of different sectors, ranging from infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and chemicals through to representatives from sports and toys. The session provided those gathered with another chance to explore the key blockers and enablers around ‘greening’ all jobs in the UK, following the launch of the joint IEMA and Deloitte report A blueprint for green workforce transformation.

Attendees also shared insights on the successes that their respective organisations have had in embedding green skills and knowledge across different job families, alongside their views on how to ensure that green skills development and the transition to a green economy is a just one.

There were several key takeaways.

The need for there to be a special focus on developing green skills capability within SMEs, through dedicated policies and funding, was well highlighted given that many do not have the resources immediately available to do so.

Representatives of larger organisations talked about the need for the C-suite to ensure that sustainability issues do not become siloed; this goes right to the heart of IEMA’s ‘all jobs greener’ push!

Other attendees highlighted how the green skills challenge isn’t one that can simply be addressed by ensuring that there are enough young people coming through the education system that have the tools to contribute to a more sustainable economy. Its also about reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce.

This point was considered as critical within the context of there being a just transition to a green economy, given that job markets in certain towns and places are likely to be disproportionately impacted through the shift to greener ways of working e.g. those whereby many are working in heavily polluting industries.

It was also useful for attendees to hear from the Shadow Energy Minister on the Labour Party’s approach to the green skills agenda. The focus here was on the need to define what the green economy of the future will look like and aligning education and training efforts to deliver this.

Under the approach put forward our future economy will be carbon free, circular, more collaborative and an increasingly just environment. Working back from this end state to organise investment in training and skills should be where efforts are concentrated.

It’s worth noting that IEMA is actively engaging with government on its plans for green jobs and skills delivery through the Green Job Delivery Group, which is aiming to create and support up to 480,000 skilled well-paid green jobs by 2030.

What next?

The roundtable was the first in a series of such events that IEMA’s policy team will pull together in the second half of 2022. Future sessions will explore themes including the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, the ongoing implementation of the Environment Act, the UK’s 2050 net zero emissions target and the biodiversity and climate COP negotiations.

Across the roundtable series we plan to host guest speakers from government, as well as from the opposition parties, the private sector, charities and academia. If you are interested in participating, please get in touch at [email protected].

Photo of Ben goodwin
Ben Goodwin

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, IEMA, IEMA

Ben is Director of Policy and Public Affairs at IEMA. In this capacity he looks after the delivery of IEMAs core policy, practice and public affairs activities across a range of environmental and sustainability issues. Prior to joining the organisation Ben worked in several similar policy roles at organisations including the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Energy Association.


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