Developing skills for a just transition

The transition to a low-carbon economy in Wales will affect workers and communities, particularly those with links to carbon-intensive industries. There is evidence that net-zero policies and environmental regulations may result in closures of some industries and the adoption of low-carbon processes in others. While there is likely to be an increased demand for both technical and ‘soft’ skills in new and existing industries, it is also likely that some jobs will no longer exist. This will determine the nature of the workforce demanded in new and existing industries, and the corresponding skill supply. Critical to this will be ensuring that the skills available in the workforce meet those demanded by employers.

Many workers and communities in Wales are poorly prepared for the transition to a decarbonised economy. Compared to other UK nations, Wales has a higher number of low-skilled workers, decreasing levels of participation in further education and apprenticeships, and a high-risk of job losses resulting from the closure of carbon-intensive industries.

WCPP sought to identify opportunities to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the transition on workers and communities in Wales, particularly in areas likely to be hardest hit. Our work explores ways in which previous industrial transitions in the UK and internationally have been managed and highlights opportunities for skills institutions, industry leaders and representative bodies, the Welsh Government and local authorities to incorporate lessons learnt into policy and regulatory approaches in Wales.

We focus on policy approaches aimed at:

  • Skills development;
  • Fostering business partnerships; and
  • Worker and community support.

Our work also discusses several effective delivery approaches:

  • Strategic planning;
  • Localised and individual delivery; and
  • A collaborative approach.