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UK has the largest green skills gap in Europe – report

Posted on 03 July 2012

The UK has been singled out for having skill gaps in more occupations in the green economy than eight other EU countries.

A new study also says that demand for such skilled workers is highly
dependent on environmental regulations and subsidies, and governments
need to do more to integrate their energy, environment and skills
policies.

The shift to a green economy will not only generate new jobs, but
will also change the scope and character of existing jobs. Demand for
energy auditors, electricians, solar PV installers, sheet-metal workers
and insulation workers is forecast to rise in most of the eight
countries in the study.

These occupations, which require medium-skill levels, have more
growth potential than higher-skilled occupations, which employ fewer
people, the report says.

The UK, Germany and Finland are three out of the eight countries that
predict future increases in the number of jobs across the widest range
of occupations.

But the UK lacks the appropriate skills more than any other country,
and is blamed for introducing changes to legislation (along with the
Netherlands) that are expected to reduce demand for energy auditors,
solar PV installers and insulation workers.

Ministers have suggested that the introduction of the Green Deal will
increase employment in two of these sectors. But the Energy Bill's own
impact assessment reveals that the number of insulation installations
could actually reduce under the Green Deal from previous levels, which
will cut the number of jobs in these sectors.

The research comes from Green Skills and Environmental Awareness in Vocational Education and Training, a report from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) prepared for the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
(Cedefop), which looked at nine different job roles (see below) in
eight EU member states: Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary, the
Netherlands, Slovakia, Finland and the UK.