A recent report, conducted by some of the UK’s major construction organisations, including Tideway, Morgan Sindall and Mace Group, draws attention to the lack of “Green Skills” in the building sector. The likelihood of the UK meeting its 2050 Emissions target is called into question, with particular attention being given to the shortage of supply of Sustainability Skills in the workforce, claiming that if current policy continues, the skills gap would reduce in the short to medium term. Besides the lack of the specific skills required to reduce emissions, the report also highlights the case that the size of the labour force will most likely be reduced in the next 15 years as it is not envisaged that the 750,000 UK-based construction workers planning to retire will be replaced.
The group calls for a realignment of the UK education and training polices with the 2050 net-zero targets. They point out the urgency of the situation, as most of 2050 buildings will have already been built, or will be built, in the short to medium term.
Other proposals include the establishment of a new National Infrastructure and Construction Skills Demand Pipeline at the Infrastructure and Projects Authority; as well as having the investment in the required skills of any major infrastructure be an integral part of the plans.
The report does recognise the benefit of several government initiatives, including the Future Homes Standard and the development of UKRI’s transforming construction challenge. However, such good work should be built upon by more ambitious and more aligned goals. The payback, besides meeting the 2050 targets, would include the potential to create 1.6m green jobs.
The industry reiterates it’s believe that achieving the 2050 goals is crucial, but a coordinated and unified approach is required across all relevant bodies.
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