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How Green Jobs Are Closing London’s Skill Gap

Photo by Nicole Rathmayr

London is one of the oldest cities in the world - however, it is trailblazing the new world of sustainable construction. As England’s capital city, it is helping to pave the way for a more sustainable future and adhere to the government’s Net Zero goals. There are many ways that London is transforming its work to become more eco-conscious - from the investment in sustainable buildings across the capital to the investment in green skills construction training for its workers.

In order for the world economy to transition into a sustainable economy, investing in the right skills is essential. Not only are green jobs crucial for halting and reversing climate change, but they also boost the economy and increase employment rates. With the economy suffering instability and inflation since the pandemic, this is crucial for the world’s economic future. Not only is this increase in green skills training increasing sustainability, but it is also closing the skills gap in London, which is essential for its further development. But how is London’s accelerated plans for a green economy by investing in green jobs succeeding at limiting the effects of climate change as well as closing London’s skill gap?

What Is London’s Skill Gap?

The pandemic had many significant effects on the economy, as work challenges and less spending meant that it halted throughout Britain. Despite this, it was reported that London had one of the swiftest economic recoveries worldwide after restrictions lifted, and certainly had the swiftest growth in the UK. Despite this, over 40% of firms have suggested that skills gaps are holding back economic growth. For such a developed economy, this is an incredibly high rate of people who are being held back by a skills gap. However, the push for sustainability has enabled skills development schemes to close the skills gap significantly through free training for green jobs.

The Mayor of London has released the ‘Jobs and Skills for Londoners’ scheme, which is aiming to improve widespread access to skills and training that will enable them to access work in sustainable industries. By helping people to provide fully funded training for London’s workers, the mayor of London has secured two things - that the sustainable economy will grow, and that ordinary people have a better chance of securing better work and developing their professional prospects. But what are some of the best examples of green jobs that could stand to transform the worldwide economy in the next couple of years?

So, What Are Green Jobs?

The Emissions Gap Report 2021 reported that the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce the effects of climate change on the planet. This has meant that governments all around the world are trying to reach net zero goals, in a worldwide attempt to save our planet. This means that green jobs are defined as jobs that are aimed at ‘substantially preserving or restoring environmental quality,’ according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

There should be 5 main requirements for a green job, which include:

  • Limits harmful emissions that contribute to global warming

  • Minimizes waste as much as possible, especially landfill

  • Protects local ecosystems

  • Increases energy efficiency and reduces consumption of raw materials

  • Contributes to the worldwide adaptation for climate change.

The International Labour Organisation estimates that green jobs and the sustainable work sector could create over 18 million jobs in the world economy. This could make a huge difference when it comes to the long-term recovery from the impact of the pandemic, and could also demonstrate world adaptation to climate change.

Which Sectors Are Leading The Push For Green Jobs?

There are 5 main sectors which have the most opportunity for green job development over the next 10 years - agriculture, energy, travel, design and transport. Ecotourism and ecodesign are both rising trends, with the modern consumer more likely to engage with eco-friendly trips and designs. This could be potentially very exciting for development in these sectors, and allow more people access to jobs that actively work towards sustainability. As the world builds a new net zero economy, there are endless possibilities for everyday design and leisure to incorporate sustainable technology and innovation.

However, the big three sectors when it comes to the expansion of green jobs worldwide have to be agriculture, energy and transport.

Regarding transport, the statistics are clear - currently, this industry is responsible for more than 30% of CO2 emissions throughout the EU. As the transport sector can find ways to reduce this and make it all more sustainable, the capacity for green jobs in the transport sector. In terms of agriculture, the move to make food production more sustainable can also go a long way when it comes to making our everyday lives eco-friendly.

The clear standout sector when it comes to green jobs however, is the energy sector. There are many ways that energy is slowly becoming more sustainable, from the production of energy to the plan to make all buildings energy-efficient. In 2021, the renewable energy sector reached 12 million jobs - and is swiftly growing. Green jobs in the energy sector include producing renewable energy, installing renewable energy equipment such as solar panels, and installing specialist insulation to make homes and public buildings more energy efficient.

What type of training is needed for green jobs?

The green skills training that is needed depends on the job, however, most of the training programmes centre around some basic green principles. The Mayor’s ‘Jobs and Skills for Londoners Scheme’ has made green skills training in London accessible for many people, especially for workers in the sustainable construction sector. This funded training is taking huge steps in two directions - to create a sustainable economy, and to close the skills gap that was emphasised during the pandemic.

So, what lesson can we take from this? Investing in green skills training should be fundamental to the government if they want to improve the skill set of their workforce as well as adapting to a worldwide green economy. Green jobs contribute to the modernisation of the economy whilst also preserving and protecting the planet’s natural resources - and should be seen as the key investment when it comes to creating a sustainable future.

Thanks for reading!

Composed by Annabelle M.

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