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Aldersgate Group: UK lacks skills to make low carbon transition

The UK does not have the necessary skills to make the transition to a low-carbon economy at the pace required to meet mandatory targets, according to an environmental lobby group.

The Aldersgate Group published its report called Mind the Gap Skills for the transition to a low carbon economy which calls on the Government to increase investment to accelerate training.

Project chair for the report John Edwards told MRW that more project management skills were needed in the waste management industry to help undertake projects that are going to be necessary for a low carbon economy. He said that Germany was much more equipped than the UK in project management skills.

He added: If we are going to build new waste facilities and move into a new low carbon world then we are going to need more engineering skills.

He said in the short-term the UK may have to poach engineers from abroad in order to fill the current engineers gap, especially research engineers.

Edwards explained that the waste management sector needs to question how its roles will change in the future to adapt to the low carbon economy. He predicted that there would be less need for bulk waste transport as society minimises its waste and more heavy metals and toxic products in the waste stream.

A major recommendation of the report is that all industry should be given training in order to equip people with low carbon skills.

Edwards said: The skills gap in the UK economy is well documented, with one in three firms already hampered by a shortage of skilled staff, from those needed to install new technology to scientists and engineers. Investment in low-carbon skills is vital if the UK is to build a more resilient and sustainable economy. In the next two years a commitment to green training will accelerate the growth of new jobs and help us out of recession. It is encouraging to hear both main parties now talk of their commitment to a green revolution. Our report will help them identify the key issues and barriers that such a commitment must address.

Aldersgate Group chairman Peter Young added: If the UK is going to compete with the likes of Germany in global low carbon markets, a key component must be to build skills across the economy and proactively transfer skills from high carbon sectors where jobs will be lost. At stake are the jobs, competiveness and prosperity of the future.

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