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National Grid - Building the Net Zero Energy Workforce Report

Research from National Grid has identified the need for the country to create up to 400,000 roles to build a Net Zero Energy Workforce.

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The UK is on a journey to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The energy sector plays a vital part in helping the country to make this transformational change, but to deliver on this ambition it needs to build a Net Zero Energy Workforce. This needs people with the talent, drive and the passion to tackle climate change.

The National Grid Building the Net Zero Energy Workforce Report looks at what skills and expertise the energy sector will need to help the UK reach its emissions target. Working with independent research partner Development Economics and YouGov, National Grid discovered that the industry needs to recruit for 400,000 jobs between now and 2050 to get the UK to net zero.

These opportunities will open up around the country, and will require a diverse mix of skills, from scientists and engineers, to communications professionals and data specialists.

To succeed, every industry, workplace and home will need clean energy. Transforming our national infrastructure to generate and distribute clean energy takes time – and the clock is ticking. The energy sector must lead the way and act now to set the UK on the right course.

This decade alone, the industry must:

  • increase low carbon electricity generation by c.50%, from sources such as wind or solar power
  • install low carbon heating systems in c.2.8 million homes
  • develop carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) technology, and develop hydrogen networks
  • install c.60,000 charging points to power c.11 million electric vehicles (EVs).

The report looks to understand how the energy sector can build a Net Zero Energy Workforce able to transform the UK’s energy system over the next 30 years.

The challenges to overcome include:

  • loss of existing talent due to a baby boomer retirement crunch
  • competition for skilled workers from other sectors, such as finance and technology
  • limited pipeline of young people choosing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications
  • lack of gender diversity.

This research found that the UK’s energy sector needs hundreds of thousands of people to fill 400,000 roles in the Net Zero Energy Workforce. Of this, 260,000 will be in new roles, while 140,000 will be replacing those who have left the workforce.

The 400,000 breaks down as:

  • 117,000 between 2020 – 2030
  • 152,000 between 2031 - 2040
  • 131,000 between 2041 - 2050.

The report identified tens of thousands will be needed in every region across the UK, with significant employment opportunity in the North where nearly 100,000 jobs will become available, the Midlands (over 50,000 jobs) and the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (nearly 90,000 jobs).

Roles required will include civil, mechanical and electrical engineers, data analysts, machine learning experts and skilled tradespeople. New roles linked to electric vehicles, hydrogen, and carbon capture technology will emerge.

The report highlights that people are increasingly motivated by a job with purpose, and the energy sector has a clear mission at its heart. Over three quarters of UK adults (78%) want to play a part in reaching the UK’s net zero goal and more than half (57%) want to work for an organisation that helps get us there. Tapping into this powerful motivator is key to building a diverse and effective Net Zero Energy Workforce.

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