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Skills for Jobs White Paper can tackle skills shortages and provide routes into employment, but focus on sustainability is needed

21st January 2021

Reacting to the publication of the Skills for Jobs White Paper today, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at Aldersgate Group, said: “The Government has set forth an ambitious vision for lifelong learning, with a particularly welcome focus on devising a more employer-led education and training curriculum. The focus on reforming apprenticeships and technical training will be essential in tackling some of the main skills shortages facing our economy at present, most notably in sectors like construction and engineering.

However, it is equally important to ensure that this vision for education and training is attuned to the needs of a low carbon economy, which is why Government should build on this White Paper to include a greater focus on sustainability. To maximise the significant job creation potential provided by a green recovery and the UK’s environmental and climate goals, the White Paper needs to recognise the importance of increasing the low carbon skills provision and embed sustainability throughout the national curriculum across all stages of the education system.[1] The announcement of new Local Skills Improvement Plans is a step in the right direction, but further improvements will need to be made to ensure that the UK’s current and future workforce have the skills that are required.”
 
Ana Musat added: “In addition to creating the supply of skills required, Government needs to urgently publish a net zero strategy, outlining decarbonisation pathways for key sectors of the economy, to increase employer demand for these skills.[2] Through the work of the Build Back Better Council, there is an important opportunity to identify the policy decisions necessary to get to net zero and their social implications, including the levelling up challenge, the productivity puzzle and the skills deficit.”

—ENDS—

[1] On 15 October 2020, the Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing, Upskilling the UK workforce for the 21st century, calling for a low carbon skills strategy to plug the UK’s skills deficit. The briefing put forward a five-point plan of action which can be accessed here: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#skills-deficit-needs-to-be-urgently-tackled-to-get-to-net-zero 

[2] On 5 October 2020, the Aldersgate Group launched a major report, Building a net zero emissions economy, looking at the key policy measures needed in this parliamentary term to put the UK economic on a credible pathway to net zero emissions: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#businesses-call-for-urgent-policy-decisions-to-put-uk-economy-on-track-for-net-zero-emissions 

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Reactive to Alok Sharma becoming full-time COP26 President

8th January 2021

Responding to the announcement that Alok Sharma will become full-time President of the UN COP26 climate conference, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: "The UK has an important role to play as the host of COP26 to drive international ambition to tackle climate change. It is therefore welcome to see Alok Sharma MP taking on the role of COP26 President full-time to focus on this vital agenda. Having hosted the Climate Ambition Summit at the end of December, now is the time to build further international commitments to deliver the increase in global emission reduction targets that climate science is urgently calling for."
 
Nick Molho added: "Domestic progress will be vital to strengthen the UK’s leadership role ahead of and during the international summit. We therefore warmly welcome the appointments of Kwasi Kwarteng MP and Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP to the vital roles of Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth respectively. These roles will be essential in putting the UK on track to meet its net zero emissions target."

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