24 November 2009
UK green skills gap could create jobs for skilled migrants
A new report has shown that Britain does not have the necessary skills to move to a low-carbon economy by 2020 or the training capabilities to fill the gap in green skills.
The Aldersgate Group study, 'Mind the Gap - Skills for the transition to a low carbon economy', states that the Government’s skills strategy is inadequate to meet the needs of a rapid transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy.
If the skills gap is not able to be addressed internally and swiftly, skilled migrants on a UK Visa could be needed fill the green skills gap and achieve the environmental targets set by the Government.
A potential measure of attracting needed skills could be the addition of extra points for green skilled migrants under the UK immigration new points-based system.
If Britain cannot bridge the skills gap, expected to be made worse in the next two years as approximately 30 per cent of Britian’s engery workforce retires, the country could lose the expected jobs in carbon capture and storage to China and the UK.
The report said that it is imperative that the "ambition and delivery" of the Government strategy are accelerated with a major recommendation to increase subsidies for offshore wind and the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme accompanied with supporting infrastructure and a corresponding skills strategy to drive investment.
The report proposes that the most significant driver for low carbon, or green, skills is a robust industrial policy to encourage investment in low carbon technology and resource efficiency. Germany was cited as a prime example of this approach.
John Edmonds, Aldersgate Group project chair for the report, said investment in low-carbon skills was vital to build a more resilient and sustainable UK economy.
He said: "The skills gap in the UK economy is well documented, with one in three firms already hampered by a shortage of skilled staff, from those needed to install new technology to scientists and engineers. The UK needs to fix these skill shortage problems in order to prosper in the modern world," he said.
The Aldersgate Group is lead by a coalition of environmental lobbyists made up of businesses and environmental groups which lobbies on environmental issues.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their UK Visa applications with the British High Commission.