The UK needs comprehensive jobs and skills plan to successfully support and drive the transition to Net Zero.  

This is the conclusion of Campaign for Learning as it publishes a new collection of expert views - Racing to Net Zero - the role of post-16 education and skills.

The G7, due to meet under the leadership of the UK, has set out its ambitions for 2030 to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. The Prime Minister has also stated that the UK Government will work with world leaders to increase the rate of pace towards Net Zero. 

Post-16 education and skills will be central to achieving climate change targets and moving to a Net Zero economy and society here in the UK.  

Young people and adults will need to upskill and reskill to meet the demand for green jobs and green skills, whilst post-16 institutions have a crucial role to play in research and driving innovation for reducing emissions and green technology. 

Julia Wright, National Director at the Campaign for Learning said: 

“A main challenge for the government will be to join up its strategy to achieve Net Zero with its planned reform of the post-16 education and skills system. 

The government will also need to address the issue of whether to increase the total amount it currently spends on post-16 education and skills to support the transition to Net Zero; or redistribute existing funding towards green skills as some industries, employers and job roles fall away. 
This pamphlet brings together experts on Net Zero and post-16 education, skills and employment policy. The sixteen contributors offer real insights about how post-16 education and skills policy can support the race to Net Zero here in the UK”. 

Contributors to Racing to Net Zero 

  • Shaun Spiers, Green Alliance - Greening the Economy, Greening the Environment 
  • Stephen Evans, Learning and Work Institute - A more ambitious Net Zero ‘Economic, Jobs and Skills’ Plan 
  • Paul Nowak, TUC - Workers, Skills and the Net Zero Economy 
  • Duncan Brown, Emsi - The Demand for Green Jobs and Green Skills 
  • Ewart Keep, University of Oxford, Labour Market Intelligence for Green Jobs and Green Skills 
  • Jane Hickie, AELP - Filling Green Jobs with Level 2+ Apprenticeships 
  • Calum Carson, ERSA - Filling Green Jobs through Employment Support Schemes 
  • David Hughes, Association of Colleges - FE Colleges, Upskilling, Reskilling and Net Zero 
  • Susan Pember, HOLEX - Adult and Community Education and Net Zero 
  • Nick Hillman, HEPI - Universities and Net Zero 
  • Bill Watkin, Six Form Colleges Association - 16-18 Education and Net Zero 
  • John Widdowson, Former FE Principal - 16-18 Level 3 T Levels and Net Zero 
  • Rebecca Conway, Federation of Awarding Bodies - Net Zero and the ‘Level 3 and Below’ Curriculum 
  • Charlotte Bonner, Education and Training Foundation - Education for Sustainable Development and the FE Workforce 
  • Adrian Anderson, UVAC - Green Jobs, Apprenticeships and Higher Technical Education 
  • Victoria Hands and Stephen Peake, The Open University - Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education 

Racing to Net Zero authors raise a number of important issues for developing a post-16 education and skills response including: 

  • The need to differentiate between green jobs and green skills within existing jobs. The post-16 education and skills system will need to respond to both. 
  • Upskilling and reskilling to meet the transition to Net Zero is not the sole domain of Level 4-8 Higher Education. Upskilling and reskilling at Level 3 and below will also be required to meet the needs of green jobs and green skills for existing jobs. 
  • The government cannot rely solely on apprenticeships for upskilling and reskilling at Level 3 and Level 2 for green jobs. As apprenticeships are employer-driven, levy payers may wish to fund non-green jobs through apprenticeships. 
  • The need for data on the proportion of green gig jobs as a share of green jobs that will be created. Green gig jobs with insecure income may not be as attractive to young people and adults. Insecure incomes may also prevent young people and adults from upskilling and reskilling if they need to put earning before learning. 
  • The need to follow the lead of providers developing strategies to embed education for sustainable development in Level 2 to Level 6 qualification and academic and vocational courses (including T levels and Higher Technical Qualifications). 
  • Understanding the role of whole institution strategies for transitioning to Net Zero. Institutions in the post-16 sector are already implementing strategies that cover decarbonising estates, incorporating education for sustainable development in teaching and learning, and providing a voice for learners of all ages to initiate change to reduce global warming. 

Visit our report page for the full Racing to Zero pamphlet