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WSP Executive Director Rachel Skinner at House of Commons

WSP Executive Director Rachel Skinner at House of Commons

 November 30, 2022

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WSP launched its Green Jobs Green Future research at the UK's Houses of Parliament. 

"We’re delighted to be in the House of Commons this morning to launch our #GreenJobsGreenFuture research, discussing the role of today’s students in the UK’s green transition. MP Peter Aldous opens our event by outlining the wide range of green jobs which exist in the UK today," said WSP. 

Keeping the future workforce abreast of the variety of career opportunities

WSP Executive Director for ESG & Government Relations, Rachel Skinner, started the discussion, moderated by Politics Home Editor Laura Silver. Rachel stated that net-zero is not optional and more needs to be done to keep our future workforce abreast of the variety of career opportunities.

Meanwhile, Minister Aldous discussed the importance of the curriculum and embedding sustainability and environmental topics into the education system. He also spoke about the need for lifelong learning and developing skills throughout a career.

Joining the discussion, Engineering UK Director Dr Isabel DiVanna said there is a significant shortfall of the number of engineers in the UK and not enough opportunities for apprenticeships. She stated there needs to be a greater focus on STEM subjects and skills.

Renewable UK Offshore Wind Director, Jane Cooper, said the UK is heading into a ‘perfect storm’ if we can’t convince students to follow careers in sectors such as energy at a time when there are so many future net-zero opportunities.

Harnessing technology disruption in the UK

During the audience question and answer session, a question was posed on how we can harness technology disruption in the UK and whether the UK might create its own Silicon Valley. 

Minister Aldous and Rachel responded, with Rachel reinforcing the importance of purpose in candidates making career decisions.

Actively shaping new skills, existing jobs and expertise

Speaking to The House, Rachel said: "We know that our buildings and their immediate urban environments are directly responsible for about 40% of carbon emissions. This however does not acknowledge the full impact of our built environment and its supporting infrastructure systems, including all transport and buildings, digital connectivity, water supply, waste treatment and so on. This puts the percentage much higher at around 70% of total emissions. On that basis, the green skills challenge isn’t about 250,000 people training for new, green jobs. It is about millions of people across the UK doing their current jobs differently.”

Rachel also warned of the dangers of complacency: “We simply can’t just carry on doing things in the way we always have,” she said. "A global net-zero outcome is not optional. It is not a ‘nice to have. It is absolutely essential. While we cannot solve the climate crisis alone, the UK should seize the opportunity to continue its lead role, actively shape new skills, existing jobs and expertise, and look for ways to support others through their green transition.”

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