Highlight green sectors at COP26
Jenny Young, head of strategy, policy and knowledge at ECITB, a panel member at the COP26 Green Career Pathways event on November 7, explains what net zero means for jobs in the industry.
It is a privilege to have a platform at COP26 to explore how education and training will help achieve net zero. As an employer-led government competency body for the mechanical engineering industry, ECITB will play a key role in ensuring that our network of supply chain companies has a workforce. of work equipped for the energy transition. Training must align with the needs of employers and prepare new entrants for green careers if we are to achieve the full number of planned projects needed to decarbonize our energy sector.
However, in our industry the path to net zero is complex with rapid transformation required in some sectors and gradual evolution in others. The adoption of green technologies, such as hydrogen fuel and offshore wind, will come alongside work in existing carbon-intensive sectors to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.
The engineers and technicians who operate and maintain the UK’s energy assets, such as oil refineries, already have many of the basic skills required to operate and maintain new carbon and hydrogen capture facilities. For them, the energy transition will be a change of context, not a change of career; this will involve enriching knowledge or applying existing skills in new environments. For ECITB, our series of technical training standards and programs remain vital to the industry and will be constantly revised to reflect new technologies and techniques as they emerge.
Careers in a green energy industry will prove attractive to new hires, but there will also be huge opportunities to work on decarbonizing existing sites such as oil and gas platforms or refineries. The transition is just that, a transition, and we will still need to train and develop a workforce capable of designing, building, operating, maintaining, decommissioning and decarbonizing these assets – alongside new net zero projects. – for many years to come.
The challenges facing the workforce go beyond basic engineering skills. The energy transition requires that knowledge be applied to new technologies and in new situations where practical experience is limited. New engineering hires will need a pioneering mindset; they need to be more agile, able to solve problems, work with big data, and bring new digital skills to the industry.
ECITB is committed to supporting industry in its energy transition. As we develop our new strategy, which will be released next year, our focus on net zero will only grow.