Green skills ‘fundamental’ to UK’s low carbon economy

A pioneering £1.2m green skills training initiative has launched in an effort to tackle critical knowledge gaps in the renewables industry and boost the UK's low carbon economy.

Set up by energy trade association RenewableUK in partnership with the Government, the Renewables Training Network (RTN) aims to provide training in the UK’s renewable energy industry, helping to create more than 77,5000 new jobs in the wind, wave and tidal industries and supply chain within the next ten years.

Funding for the scheme has been provided by businesses in the renewables sector, with £600,000 being collectively provided in support of the project.

In addition, match funding has been provided by The UK Commission for Employment and Skills, funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which awarded £580,000 from its Growth and Innovation Fund to the new body.

According to RenewableUK, the wind and energy sector has the capacity to support 88,300 UK jobs by 2021, up from 10,600 today, if the right policies and financial conditions are put in place.

Skill training is expected to play a major part in the success of the industry, as RenewableUK warned that a shortage of skilled workers could act as barrier to growth for companies in the sector.

Commenting on the scheme, RenewableUK chief executive, Maria McCaffery said that businesses will gain a diverse range of workers by jointly invested in training, which will support the growth of the sector.

She said: “The renewable energy industry is one of the fastest growing areas of the economy, and this initiative is essential to ensure that growth can continue – and that people from a diverse set of backgrounds can make the most of the enormous job opportunities.”

Meanwhile, energy transportation company Alstom UK president, Steve Burgin said the development of the UK renewables sector is “fundamental” in helping the UK become a low carbon economy.

He said: “The development of the UK renewables sector, and in particular the offshore market, is fundamental in driving carbon reduction, security of supply and economic growth.

“Timely investment in renewables skills development ahead of the anticipated demand surge in the coming years is therefore essential to ensure that the sector can deliver efficiently, affordably and safely”.

Carys Matthews

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