UK energy sector workers believe there is a worrying lack of leadership and support to meet the government’s target to decarbonise energy production by 2035, according to new research from global skills development organisation City & Guilds and non-profit Engineering UK.

Only 42% of energy sector workers feel that businesses in the sector are ready to meet this target, with just 42% believing the government is doing enough upskilling to support the UK’s energy transition to net zero.

City & Guilds and Engineering UK surveyed 1,000 energy sector workers, including 500 in high-carbon energy industries such as oil and gas, and 500 in low-carbon industries such as wind, solar and nuclear

Around 60% of those working in the high-carbon energy sector believe the move to decarbonise the power system will put their jobs at risk as early as 2025. These employees are open to the transition, with 91% willing to consider a role in low-carbon industries now or in the future. However, only a third (33%) of them believe they have the skills they need to adapt to any future changes in the industry. In addition, a quarter (26%) say they do not know how to access training that will allow them to adapt to those changes.

In a press statement, City & Guilds chief customer officer Andy Moss said: “It’s great to know that over 90% of the high-carbon energy workforce are interested in transitioning to greener jobs. To meet the skills needs of the sector, it’s vital we create opportunities for people to do just that.

“Yet, many employers have told us that uncertainty over the timing and scope of major energy projects inhibits their ability to invest in skills for the long term. We must unite to tackle this, with industry and government working in partnership to equip the energy workforce with the green skills required for the future. If we don’t act now, we’ll almost certainly lose the race to a more sustainable future.”

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By GlobalData

Last week, the UK’s Climate Change Committee reported that the country’s net-zero target presents a significant employment opportunity, with estimates ranging from 135,000 to 725,000 net new jobs in low-carbon sectors – if the UK Government can deliver active support and investment in reskilling and upskilling for the energy transition.