It’s time to close the green skills gap and create the net-zero workforce of the future

How we can use education and skills development to promote sustainability and meet net-zero targets

13 October 2023

In November 2020 the UK Government announced the Green Jobs Taskforce which was then followed by the 2021 Net Zero strategy. 

These were both introduced with the goal of helping to prepare businesses and individuals for the changes they would need to make to meet decarbonisation targets.

However, a couple of years on there are still many organisations whose employees are not ready to do the “greener jobs” they will need to do to meet environmental targets.

A growing skills gap – and the cost of inaction

This pace of change has created a skills gap that needs to be closed fast, and this is where education and training will be crucial, and many companies want faster, more focused training that teaches the specific skills their employees need to adapt to greener practices in their roles.

The longer businesses, training organisations and governments wait to resolve the green skills gap, the more the costs of this inaction will grow. Unfortunately, due to the speed that the market is moving, the current traditional range of courses and programmes on offer are not capable of supporting this work alone.

Quantum learner imageThis is where shorter, more bespoke courses come in. For businesses who cannot let their employees go for the time needed to complete a longer course or who have specific skills needs that cannot be met by already existing courses, bespoke training can deliver the knowledge and skills they’re looking for on a timeline that suits them. 

Bespoke flexible skills solutions are needed

Organisations need agile training solutions that rapidly equip workers with the green skills they need to meet them. For example, installers may need training on updated practices for zero-carbon heating systems.

Engineers might require new technical knowledge on hydrogen or EV technology. Operations staff could benefit from sustainability modules tailored to their roles.

Bespoke training delivers more focused content on a timeline that fits business needs. It allows companies to reskill employees without requiring prolonged absences and helps them to gain skills that they can immediately apply in the workplace, without needing to spend time on training content that won’t be relevant to their role.

Whatever the training that’s on offer, it’s vital that employees take it seriously. Good, high-quality training can provide more than just new skills and knowledge, it can build learner confidence, show employees that their organisation values them and improve business outcomes across the board.

How training providers are finding ways to support their industries

For Quantum and Daikin UK delivering green skills training is something that has become as much of a priority as their work in offering energy-saving, low-carbon systems and installations. With a focus on using the green energy expertise they have developed a range of courses which include both theoretical and practical training designed to help students and those already working in engineering to make their contribution to reaching net-zero.

In support of this commitment to the energy industry, Quantum Training developed their Sustainable Energy Technologies course, designed to give learners a “comprehensive foundation in sustainable energy technologies (ASHP, Solar PV and Thermal, EV Charging and Battery Energy Storage) and their practical applications in the built environment.” With both the original 150-hour and a tailored shorter version of the course available all year round, employers and learners can choose a learning timeline that suits them. 

Consisting of 18 hours of theoretical training and 18-hours of practical training, all completed in person and split into six theoretical units and six hands-on practical sessions, the 36-hour course allows time poor learners the opportunity to explore key knowledge and skills relating to green energy technology.

Quantum digital credentialThis allowance for flexibility and the practical content covered including component identification, installation and commission and maintenance and service for key low carbon technologies helps businesses to take a clear step in the right direction to close their green skills gaps.

In order to further support both employers and learners Quantum has also taken the step of gaining City & Guilds Assured status for the programme, certifying that it meets the high standards set thank to City & Guilds’ years of education experience and also meaning that learners will receive a City & Guilds and Quantum digital credential upon completion of the course. 

Enabling learners to showcase their green credentials

This helps to give learners something clear to work towards and a way for them to clearly demonstrate the skills they have acquired, something that could help current engineers vying for a promotion or engineering students when looking for graduate roles. Digital credentials can also be a way of showing potential partners or customers the skills that engineers have and can even support in retaining or hiring employees by helping to create an environment where employees’ learning and development is valued.

Managing Partner and Finance Director for Quantum Maria Gonella has spoken about the importance of being able to provide these courses to learners: 

“Helping to create a more eco-conscious workforce, especially within the energy sector has always been a priority for us. To be able to use our experience in creating and installing low-carbon and energy-saving technologies to provide hands-on, immersive training that gives others in our industry the skills and knowledge they need to help us all reach net-zero is something that we’re incredibly passionate about.”

Moving forward with green skills as a priority

In their 2022 report Closing the UK’s green skills gap, Green Alliance spoke about the need for the UK government to take an integrated approach to supporting green skills development, explaining that “to ensure that the necessary green skills are developed to underpin a thriving future economy, the government must focus on three areas: industry, institutions and individuals.” 

Providers like Quantum have demonstrated a possible pathway to encourage the development of some of the green skills needed to decarbonise the energy sector and it's important that as a society we take the lessons we can learn from this on board and commit to creating a workforce that will be able to deliver on net-zero goals.

Learn more about Quantum and the training they offer

Read more about what we do to promote sustainability at City & Guilds