Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Director of Policy and External Affairs will give evidence to the EAC (Wednesday 3 February 2021).

Looking forward to his oral evidence session, Martin is clear of the need for a green jobs and skills strategy and a long-term commitment:

‘A Strategy for green jobs and skills can only succeed if there is a robust and stable commitment to progressive environment and climate policies – it needs clear oversight from a suitably resourced Green Jobs and Skills Commission and it must not focus solely on new green jobs – ultimately all jobs should be greener in order to place them in the mainstream of delivery across the economy.’

‘Education, training and life-long learning must be aligned so that the knowledge and skills are available to individuals as they enter the workforce and develop their careers. This provides a real opportunity to tackle the woefully poor performance of the sustainability profession and wider environment sector to tackle one of the worst records in tackling diversity and inclusion.’

‘We echo and support the call contained in the report ‘The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review’ (published 2 February 2021) in calling for developing environmental education programmes that can help to achieve tangible targets – a key measure should be better fitting individuals to the green jobs of the future’.

IEMA’s key recommendations to the EAC are:

  • We need a national “Green Jobs and Skills Strategy” to embed climate change and environmental protection & improvement across the whole education, training, and life-long learning system.
  • The Strategy must be underpinned by ambitious, long-term environment & climate policies that give businesses the certainty to invest in improvements and which create new green jobs and employment opportunities.
  • All new green policies, strategies and laws must be accompanied by an explicit consideration of the skills needed for effective implementation and a green skills plan setting out how any ‘skills gaps’ will be addressed.
  • The Strategy must ensure that all parts of society have access to the emerging green jobs and skills opportunities – tackling diversity and inclusion must be an integral part of the agenda.
  • In defining “green jobs” it is essential to recognise that, in addition to jobs in new and growing sectors (e.g. renewable energy, low carbon heating) many of the green jobs will be in the mainstream economy and are key to driving energy & resource efficiency, sustainable procurement, eco-design, pollution control and environmental improvements in all organisations.
  • The Strategy must include a mainstreaming strand…”all jobs greener”….such that all parts of the existing and future workforce are equipped to play their role – including by weaving green competences through the majority, if not all, apprenticeship standards.

Given the long-term nature of the challenge, the need to take a strategic approach across education and skills, business and energy, environment and economic policy, and failures of past green jobs initiatives, a new Green Jobs and Skills Commission should be established and mandated to take forward the strategy.

Photo of Martin baxter
Martin Baxter

Martin Baxter leads on IEMA's policy and external engagement activity. He works in the UK, and internationally, to support the transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, and sustainable economy.