Green skills drought could put targets out of reach 


01 March 2022
Providing training to install low carbon systems such as heat pumps is urgent. Picture: Carbon Co-Op

Climate change charity Ashden says that a worldwide skills shortage is threatening efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

The IPCC WGII Sixth Assessment Report calls for urgency in tackling the climate crisis – but Ashden warns that the grand plans will come to nothing without greater support for green skills.  

LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report suggests that while low-carbon sectors are growing, the flow of skilled workers is not keeping pace. It finds job postings on the platform requiring green skills had grown roughly 8% a year since 2015, but green talent (workers with skills and experience relevant to low-carbon roles) grew at roughly 6%. 

Ashden is calling for:

  • Prioritisation of green skills and training by climate-focused funders and investors, and by governments (national, regional and local) around the world.  
  • Closer co-ordination between the public sector, businesses and training institutions – ensuring courses and qualifications match the needs of frontline organisations 
  • Action to boost skills in disadvantaged communities and among marginalised groups – recognising that investment in skills brings immediate social benefits beyond lowering emissions. 
  • Replication of the proven innovation making enormous progress in this area. 

In the UK, Manchester’s Carbon Co-op has provided builders with accessible and practical training to boost home energy efficiency. Crucially, Carbon Co-op’s support also includes linking builders with potential customers – bridging the gap between training and real-world action. 

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Proud technical solar installers hold their certificates after attending a 5-week solar technology training with Sendea Academy, Uganda. Picture: Sendea Academy

Pioneering work overseas includes that of Uganda’s SENDEA Academy, a collective of local renewable energy enterprises working together to upskill staff – in areas from engineering to finance and logistics. The group has formed close links with government and local colleges, and more than 100 people have been trained so far. 

Ashden believes these proven grassroots approaches, and others like them, can thrive with investment and policy support from those in power. CEO Harriet Lamb said: “This report underlines the need for urgent climate action, and highlights pathways to a zero-carbon future. But if we attempt that journey without action on green skills and training, we’ll simply be wandering in circles. 

“We know the destination. We know we need to get there fast. We know we need to get there together. But none of this is possible without a serious commitment to green skills.”