THE WELSH GOVERNMENT has set out how it will ensure today’s children, young people and workers have the skills they need to work in the new jobs of tomorrow in the green “Net Zero” industries that do not yet exist.
Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, is today publishing the Welsh Government’s Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: Net Zero Skills Plan, which sets out a long-term vision of how the Welsh Government, businesses and industry, the education and skills sectors and trades unions will work together to upskill the people of Wales to work in the Net Zero jobs of the future.
The Welsh Government’s Programme for Government made clear Ministers’ focus on driving a stronger, more competitive Welsh economy by narrowing the skills divide and tackling inequality – to boost good jobs and lift people out of poverty.
In Net Zero Wales, launched in 2021, the Welsh Government re-stated its commitment to a just transition away from the fossil-fuelled economy of the past to a new low carbon future. This involves creating a better, fairer, and greener future for everyone, through the creation of new quality jobs that help meet the Welsh Government’s net zero commitments in a rapidly changing economy.
The Welsh Government’s Net Zero Skills Action Plan sets out Ministers’ commitment to net zero skills by investing in people, skills and talent as crucial drivers towards a stronger, fairer, greener economy that works for everyone, where no one is left behind. This will ensure the current Welsh workforce can upskill as the skills requirements for their existing jobs change and the future workforce has the right skills to take up the jobs that don’t exist yet, which will be a key enabler as Wales transitions to a net zero economy.
To deliver the vision for a Fairer, Stronger, Greener Wales, the Net Zero Skills Action Plan will prioritise 7 key areas of action:
- Gain an understanding of the current skills position for each emission sector – this will set out the skills position for each of the 8 emission sectors, what skills are needed in the short, medium, and long term and how to achieve this through continued partnership working.
- Build a shared understanding of net zero skills across Wales – this will help businesses, employees and school leavers understand what is meant by green/net zero jobs and the skills required.
- Grow a skilled workforce to meet our net zero commitments – the skills challenges facing the workforce are very real now. Therefore, this will involve responding to the growing demand from businesses for more people to have net zero skills. This will involve supporting people to upskill in existing sectors and utilise their existing skills and qualifications to help the transition within sectors. To deliver this, Ministers have invested an additional £10m in Personal Learning Accounts this year to upskill workers to meet the skills gaps.
- Strengthen the skills system – this will involve building on the strong foundations that already exist, including the apprenticeships programme. The Welsh Government is exploring options on how apprenticeship frameworks can further meet the net zero commitments. In addition, Ministers will look to strengthen the offer of short courses to top-up net zero skills for young apprentices’ in new and emerging technologies and techniques through Personal Learning Accounts. This will allow Wales to meet the rapidly growing skills demand across all sectors.
- Promote opportunities for early years and young people to realise their potential – as part of Wales’ new curriculum, this will involve motivating, engaging, and equipping children and young people to effectively understand their future career options, and the world of work in the industries of the future.
- Cross government and partnership approach to meet our skills commitment – this will involve continuing a partnership approach across the whole economy, drawing on the strength provided by our social partnership way of working.
- Just transition – this will mean no-one is left behind. This will involve ensuring individuals are part of the conversation, by promoting a positive culture that champions fairness and equality to drive forward change.
Launching the new plan, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething said: “The Welsh Government is determined to ensure we build a Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales, where no one is left behind. We’ve committed to creating a Wales where individuals of all ages can receive a high-quality education, with jobs for all and where businesses can thrive in a net zero economy that champions fairness and equality.
“The Net Zero Skills plan I am unveiling today is designed to ensure today’s children and workers will have the skills they’ll need to work in the jobs of tomorrow; jobs that will become the cornerstone of the new industries of the future that are either in their infancy or don’t yet exist.
“The publication of the new plan is just the start of this process. Government cannot tackle the challenge alone. A Team Wales approach is the only way we can drive forward these changes and meet our net zero commitments. Everyone needs to take responsibility and play their part in taking action to improve practices, investing in people and communities to innovate and build a more resilient economy.
“I very look forward to working with all our partners to deliver our Net Zero Skills Action Plan to create a Fairer, Stronger, Greener Wales for all.”
Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Our Net Zero strategy, which we launched a little over a year ago, sets out more than 120 policies to help Wales reach net zero by 2050.
The pathway to net zero will offer opportunities for people to use their expertise in the industries of the future and to develop new skills, as well as providing new and exciting careers for young people. This new Net Zero Skills Action Plan will equip our future generations and businesses to take advantage of these opportunities for long term jobs in growth areas.”
More information on the Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: Net Zero Skills Plan can be found here: www.gov.wales/netzeroskills