Net zero skills: Insights and evidence from emissions sectors in Wales

The transition to net zero presents opportunities and challenges for workers, employers and government. The economic changes likely to accompany the ongoing transition will affect all jobs to some extent and will result in shifts in employment as new employers, industries and roles emerge and others close down.

Following its commitment in Net Zero Wales, the Welsh Government has published Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales: Net Zero Skill Action Plan, to provide practical steps towards understanding where and how skills needs will change over time and indicates how the Welsh Government will support this transition.

WCPP were asked to support the development of Stronger, Fairer, Greener Wales. This rapid evidence review contributes to the evidence base and discussion by providing an overview of evidence on future skills needs for the emissions sectors presented in Net Zero Wales, drawing on existing evidence and semi-structured interviews with sector representatives.

Our report finds a varying picture across emissions sectors. In some sectors, clear pathways to net zero and a good understanding of when and how skills will need to change mean that businesses are more prepared for change. In others, a lack of clarity around future technologies makes it more difficult to manage the workforce transition.

We found a number of cross-cutting themes that will be important across sectors:

  • Ensuring a just transition, both in reskilling and redeploying workers affected by the transition and ensuring that new entrants into the workforce are drawn from as wide a pool as possible.
  • Coordination with actors in the education and skills system to ensure that demand for new skills is reflected in course content, and that retraining opportunities are available to existing workers including through more flexible provision.
  • Integrating the circular economy into training and development provision, and adapting the principle of circularity to specific business concerns.
  • Taking advantage of digitalisation both to facilitate the net zero transition and to improve workforce productivity while recognising the need to do so in an inclusive way.
  • The need to encourage Welsh language use in training provision and workforce planning.

Our report considers these themes in detail and also includes recommendations for each emissions sector and cross cutting theme.