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UK Government targets green tech with share of £200m skills investment

Written by Mon 13 Nov 2023

The UK Government has announced a skills investment of £200 million ($163 million) to support colleges and universities in offering training opportunities in key industries, including the growing green sector. 

The Government investment is being targeted to address the specific skills needed in each region. Local businesses and employers have identified these needs as priority sectors in their local skills improvement plans (LSIPs), giving them access to the skilled workforce they require to grow.

Demand for green skills is set to rise as the Government works to create energy security and achieve net zero goals. The Government’s net zero growth plan predicts the transition to a green and sustainable future will support hundreds of thousands of green job opportunities.

Jobs will include heat pump installation, solar panel maintenance, electric vehicle manufacturing, and environmental consultancy.

“This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately future-proofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation,” said Gillian Keegan, Secretary of State for Education.

The Government will also focus on digital, construction, and manufacturing industries as part of its skills investment plan.

The funding will ensure more people can access Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs), which sit between A levels, T levels, and degrees. 

HTQs aim to provide in-demand skills in areas like digital, healthcare, and engineering, offering an alternative pathway to a traditional three-year degree. They are designed in collaboration with employers to equip students with skills needed for further study or immediate employment.

MidKent College in Kent has been awarded funding to build a new training facility. The facility will offer hands-on experience in retrofit energy efficiency measures, and renewable and sustainable energy solutions.

“We know from our conversations with employers that growing skills for sustainable construction practices and improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock are priorities for the sector here in the Southeast,” said Simon Cook, CEO and Principal at MidKent College.

The new courses will cover areas like thermal imaging, aerial survey, and mapping. The courses will also utilise virtual reality capabilities to develop simulated engineering challenges, construction processes and techniques. The goal is to support people to gain the skills needed to launch green careers.  

“Whether it’s manufacturing electric vehicles, installing heat pumps, or building wind turbines, this funding will help train the tens of thousands of skilled workers needed to power our green industrial revolution and grow the economy,” said Graham Stuart, Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.

The British Chambers of Commerce and other employer representative organisations were commissioned to lead work to develop local skills improvement plans. The work aimed to enhance support for individuals in gaining skills required for fulfilling careers.

Past UK Government Skills Investments

The Government’s investment in local areas forms part of its broader efforts to enhance skills in the UK. This initiative is complemented by programmes, including T levels, free job courses, and skills boot camps.

More than 40,000 people started a skills boot camp in the last financial year, exceeding the Government’s target. Skills boot camps are free courses lasting up to 16 weeks, with an offer of a job interview on completion. They are available across the country in a range of in-demand subjects, including heat pump engineering and electric vehicle maintenance.

Earlier this month, the UK Government announced a £118 million ($143 million) investment to develop the country’s skills in artificial intelligence (AI). The investment is intended to ensure the UK has top global expertise. It also aims to foster the next generations of researchers, enabling them to seize the transformational benefits of AI.

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Written by Mon 13 Nov 2023

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