Nearly 700,000 direct jobs could be created in England’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy by 2030, rising to more than 1.18 million by 2050, the Local Government Association has revealed in a new report.
The LGA is urging the Government to work with councils to develop post Covid-19 economic recovery options, including proposals for a jobs guarantee programme which can provide new opportunities, including in the low-carbon sector.
It is calling for national skills and employment schemes and funding to be devolved to councils and combined authorities so they can work with businesses and education providers to train and retrain young people and older workers so they can benefit from these new local opportunities.
Its new commissioned report – ‘Local green jobs – accelerating a sustainable economic recovery’ – shows that demand for green jobs will rapidly increase as the nation transitions to a net zero economy and will help to counter the unprecedented job losses due to coronavirus which are likely to increase further when furlough ends from October.
This new green jobs bonanza – across every region in England – will help the national economic recovery following the pandemic. The report predicts that:
- Nearly half (46%) of an estimated 693,628 total low-carbon jobs by 2030 will be in clean electricity generation and providing low-carbon heat for homes and businesses, such as manufacturing wind turbines, installing solar panels and installing heat pumps.
- Around a fifth (21%) of jobs by 2030 will be involved in installing energy efficiency products, such as insulation, lighting and control systems, while a further 19% will be based on providing low-carbon services (financial, legal and IT) and producing alternative fuels, such as bioenergy and hydrogen.
- A further 14% of jobs will be directly involved in manufacturing low-emission vehicles and the associated infrastructure.
- Between 2030 and 2050, the low-carbon workforce in England could increase by a further 488,569, taking the total level of jobs to more than 1.18 million by 2050.
The LGA said the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis are likely to be felt in our communities for some time to come.
Councils have long warned that centrally driven employment and skills support is often failing to meet, and respond to, local need. It is therefore vital that councils have the tools they need to ensure that all our diverse communities have the best possible chance of contributing to and benefiting from economic recovery.
This includes local control over skills and employment support and increased national investment to create jobs and help young people and adults secure them.
During the pandemic, councils’ role as leaders of place has been emphasised as never before, for example by leading local efforts to trace the virus and providing billions in financial support to businesses.
The LGA says councils have been trusted to deliver and this local approach should be extended to skills training to help project where and when these jobs will be created and build the skills of local workforces.
The LGA’s Work Local proposals – which would see councils and combined authorities working with partners to integrate and devolve employment, apprenticeships and skills initiatives so it is easier for all residents and employers to navigate – provide a sure-fire way of achieving this.
Soaring demand for green jobs will require a diverse range of skills and expertise to roll-out clean technologies. Emerging skills gaps requiring early intervention are the heat pump supply chain and professional services.
Local areas need to be able match skills supply and demand through effective local targeting by giving councils and combined authorities the ability to work with local education providers and businesses to bridge gaps in NVQ-related skills so that the workforce is equipped to meet emerging demand.
The LGA is urging government to improve uncoordinated and limited funding streams by engaging with councils to understand how new funding for skills can be devolved to better meet and respond to local need, to support the creation of new jobs and develop a pipeline of skills at a local level.
Cllr Sir Richard Leese, chair of the LGA’s City Regions Board, said: “Councils are driving the climate change agenda at a local level, through ambitious projects and targets, which is beginning to influence local economic growth plans and skills programmes.
“Demand for green jobs is due to sky-rocket as we move towards a net zero economy and local government, with its local knowledge and expertise, is best placed to ensure the workforce in every region of the country can successfully surf the new wave of employment opportunities.
“Localising and devolving skills investment, back to work support and any job guarantee will be critical to ensuring everyone benefits from new local jobs, including these one million new low-carbon jobs.
“To help meet national climate change targets and capitalise on the green jobs revolution, councils need to be given long-term funding, devolved powers and easier access to complex government funding pots to help realise the Government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050.”