COP 26 Manifesto

Date
1/11/2021
Our Insight

This autumn, COP 26 in Glasgow looks set to stand as a watershed moment in the race to achieve Net Zero.

The extent to which our industries are central to the COP26 agenda is striking: ending coal power and phasing out polluting vehicles are two major conference objectives, and both will lean heavily on innovation in engineering and manufacturing to enable this to happen.

Achieving this requires a fundamental component: skills.

Ensuring there is a trained workforce with the knowledge and ability to support transitioning industry is vital; firstly, to enable the UK to meet its environmental commitments, and secondly to secure the economy as it adapts through the green industrial revolution.

What does COP26 mean for Enginuity?

For us at Enginuity, COP26 represents an unequivocal responsibility to help shape the skills agenda that will enable our industries to deliver on their commitments to Net Zero.

We seek to champion engineering, promoting its value and explaining its role in shaping our world.

Our work with employers, educators and policymakers gives us an enhanced perspective and a rich understanding of the skills needed to secure a successful future workforce.

For industry to enable the UK to meet the pledges, ambitions - or even legislation - agreed as a result of COP26 we need to: understand where the skills are needed and when; ensure the path to learning is effective; attract new talent into worthwhile careers, and upskill those whose ongoing livelihoods depend on being able to adapt.

This is a major undertaking and certainly not achievable overnight but Enginuity is using this timely opportunity to assess what needs to happen to ensure we create the right climate for green skills to flourish.

Understanding and agreement around the classification of green occupations

Let’s ensure we work from an agreed base, using shared terminology to ensure there is common understanding.

Building on O*NET

O*NET is a primary source of occupational information used in the United States. In 2009, it stated that green economic activities and technologies will have different effects on different occupations – and so it is essential to move beyond the broad term “green.” 

We have updated and built on this, identifying green tasks within occupations. These can be automatically integrated with taxonomies while we develop a master, data-driven taxonomy. For UK manufacturing, this will serve as a source of “truth” for identifying green skills and understanding where they sit within manufacturing.

This makes it possible to analyse - from an informed perspective - how the current workforce can upskill or reskill. It also gives a greater degree of insight for predicting the possible scale of change ahead - by analysing labour market data and turning it into intelligence we can track trends enabling organisations to respond. 

Working with an agreed roadmap

Much easier written than done – if we look back at the scale and pace of change over the previous 20 years could we have written a roadmap that sat comfortably alongside it? Maybe not, but we can use the blueprint of what has been learnt and set it against the backdrop of emerging and disruptive technologies to chart a path that has some clarity.

What we do know is that technological change is rapid and becoming more so – and skills development has got to accelerate to catch up.

A number of insightful reports have been published outlining practical and meaningful ways to address the skills gap both generally and from a green perspective. We at Enginuity lend our voice to this chorus and ask that it translates into influence upon curricula from school through to further and higher education.

Acknowledging the importance of training and education; ensuring it remains a leading agenda point, and supporting through funding and insight is crucial.

Government, industry, and educators need to work together to create this blueprint.

Central to this is ensuring young people are immersed in environmental awareness as early as possible. As well as becoming socially responsible adults in terms of climate change, it will ensure they have sight of career opportunities that can lead to solving the world’s challenges through engineering.

To this end, we have used gamification – and the power of Minecraft - to help discover a young person’s aptitude for engineering, creating a series of Skills Miner games with our latest – launched to coincide with COP26 - bringing the challenge of creating greener homes to life.

Supply chain engagement and inclusivity

It might appear that the burden of responsibility falls on prime organisations however companies throughout the supply chain have an equally important role to play in making the shift toward Net Zero.

Realistically, not all businesses – especially smaller firms – have the capacity to invest resources into future workforce planning, not least as they determine how to adapt to themselves to the green agenda. However, they are often a hotbed of innovation – something which is fundamental to hitting environmental targets.

Supporting SMEs in workforce planning and encouraging their contribution to developing the skills agenda is crucial.

More often than not, as local employers, they welcome the next generation to industry through apprenticeships and training. Their role in creating sustainable employment opportunities cannot be overlooked which makes their input in shaping the future workforce vital.

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