Chief Executive Officer, Policy Connect
Developing green skills and harnessing technology is key to unlocking the societal change required to develop a net zero economy in the UK.
The climate crisis presents the greatest challenge ever seen to our established ways of living, including our ideas about how society, the economy and the labour market should work. An adequate global response will require billions of pounds in funding and significant changes to our education, skills and training system so that people have the skills needed to help us adapt.
Lifelong learning for skills
With changes in the country’s economy already well underway in response to the fourth industrial revolution and Brexit, the UK has the potential to become a leader in green skills. However, a greater focus is needed on lifelong learning, not just on academic learning and achievement in early life. This skills development should be particularly focused on those sectors of the economy that have to decarbonise and those areas in the UK that are, historically, fossil fuel production-dependent.
As new industries in sectors and areas have started to emerge, education institutions need to start preparing now for a shift that will take place over the next decade. This will also need to include a greater focus on the use of technology, both in terms of the utilisation and further development of AI to deliver growth and upskilling people to use — for instance — phone applications in their work processes. Technology can also make lifelong learning easier and more flexible for people such as shift workers who want to progress in their roles or careers.
As new industries in sectors and areas have
started to emerge, education institutions
need to start preparing now for a shift
that will take place over the next decade.
The Government and the Department for Education play an important role in bringing lifelong learning to the forefront of the education agenda. In particular, recognising the crucial role of non-academic lifelong learning will be central to the development of young people and adult learners alike.
As with the wider economy, skills continue to be a central topic for Policy Connect’s cross-party policy work. Following publication and impact work on the report “Transition to Ambition: Navigating the careers maze” Policy Connect has recently convened a Parliamentary-led conversation on “Plans for Growth: industry and skills” and further research on skills in the manufacturing sector as well as an in-depth look at how essential Level 4 and 5 Higher Technical Qualifications can be made more accessible, flexible and fairly regarded is forthcoming.