How do we build green skills for a Net Zero Wales?
Last week, a few members of the Cynnal Cymru team attended Green Skills for a Net Zero Wales led by Business in the Community. In this breakfast briefing about the Green Skills agenda in Wales, likeminded organisations met to discuss green skills, with an address from the Minister of Economy in Wales, Vaughan Gething. Cynnal Cymru facilitated round tables with senior leaders in business of all sizes across Wales to exchange ideas on how everyone in Wales can grow a skilled workforce that meets Wales’ net zero commitments.
What are Wales’ Net Zero Commitments?
As part of the All Wales Plan 2021-25, organisations across every sector have pledged to make changes towards a net zero economy. In order to achieve a net zero economy, Wales as a whole needs to reduce our total emissions in 2030 by at least 90% relative to the baseline year, 2019-20.
How can we do this?
A key message in the event was championing the notion that green skills are not just about technical skills or the creation of new jobs. At Cynnal Cymru, we believe in a well-rounded approach to sustainable change, which is why we have a Fair Work team leading Living Wage Wales and a just transition to sustainable changes.
Since joining Cynnal Cymru, I have attended and led events such as a Net Zero Skills round table for the Open University, a steering group for the IEMA green careers hub, and a Mainstreaming Equality for a Just Transition evidence panel. Through these conversations and research, I have come to realise that if we define green skills narrowly – only as technical jobs in energy and transport, for example – we will alienate people and will not reach our Net Zero transition goals. The UK economy, like many others, relies on sectors such as hospitality, retail, healthcare, construction, creative arts and more, which also need to be a part of this transition. Our focus must be on supporting existing sectors to upskill and re-skill their existing workforces so that huge communities don’t miss out on being part of a Net Zero economy.
If we define green skills so narrowly – only as technical jobs in energy and transport, for example – we will alienate people and will not reach our Net Zero transition goals.
So why aren’t we doing this?
I noticed that organisations:
- Don’t have the time to think about green skills
- Don’t know where to start with these conversations or changes
- Don’t know how green skills apply to them
I think this can be linked back to the understanding that every job can be green. The Welsh Government is currently taking consultations on how to achieve net zero skills across sector. Cynnal Cymru is a member of the SME Taskforce for Climate, alongside other small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). As part of my work on this taskforce, I am educating workplaces across sectors on the ways they can understand their own skillset in relation to net zero.
Karolina joined Cynnal Cymru in 2021 as our Sustainability Advisor to provide consultancy support to the public and private sectors on how to become more sustainable in their operations. She represents Cynnal Cymru on the SME Taskforce for the Climate.