A chance to drive the net zero workforce of the future

WITH hundreds of thousands of jobs to be filled in the energy industry over the coming years, there’s never been a better time than now to push forward the apprenticeship agenda to make net zero carbon happen.

Engineers and people with sector-specific skills will be desperately needed to tackle climate change and deliver the UK’s net zero target by 2050. There’ll be countless new roles being created as well as opportunities arising to replace those who are retiring.

It’s this latter group – many of them “baby boomers” who are highly-skilled but will no longer be there to pass on their expertise to the next generation – that could be holding the door open to a vast range of careers for our young people.

And at a time when an increasing number want to play their part in reaching net zero – and also work for companies that help the country get there – apprenticeships are a means of bringing fresh new talent to the energy industry.

Throughout the country, the 2050 net zero carbon target will call for more than 400,000 jobs to be filled to transform the UK energy system over the next 30 years. Of these, there are likely to be 260,000 newly-created roles and the remaining 140,000 jobs will be to replace skilled people who have left the workforce due to retirement.

In the next 10 years alone, the energy industry needs to increase low carbon power generation by around 50 per cent, install low carbon heating systems in 2.8 million homes, develop carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology and hydrogen networks as well as install 60,000 charging points to power 11 million electric vehicles (EVs).

David Wright, chief electricity engineer at National Grid, has already said there’s a “wave of momentum” among people now keen to join the energy industry. And with more women than men wanting what they see as a “job of purpose”, great leaps are being made to get a full diversity of intake.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week this week and here at Inteb we’re increasingly seeing the value of young apprentices to our business. They are part of our own talent pool where they are learning and growing with us. As we expand, so do they in knowledge, confidence and ability.

There are currently three of them on our apprenticeship programme, taking qualifications in business administration and energy management, and before too much longer they’ll be joined by other new apprentice recruits.

They’ll be the ones in the fortunate position of actually being able to say they are making a difference to the future of the planet, day in and day out, by their knowledge and expertise of how to manage energy responsibly.

They’ll also be there to fill the skills gaps created by an older workforce and then develop and nurture the next generation coming up after them. Their success stories in choosing the apprenticeship route – a pathway that gives equal opportunities of advancement to both young men and women – is their chance to drive the future net zero workforce.