What could education, jobs and work look like across Wales by 2035?

Education and work form the backbone of people’s lives, as well as being of crucial importance to the economic and social development of Wales. Achieving net zero calls for the development of new industries, the creation and change of job roles and mitigating the effects of industry closure.

The Welsh Government, as part of its Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru, has formed the Wales Net Zero 2035 Challenge Group, chaired by former Minister Jane Davidson, as part of the commitment to ‘commission independent advice to examine potential pathways to net zero by 2035.’

The Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) has been asked by the Welsh Government to provide independent evidence support to the Challenge Group. These outputs form our submission towards the Group’s fifth challenge area, ‘What could education, jobs and work look like across Wales by 2035?’  WCPP’s background paper provides a high-level summary of some of the key issues in this area, drawing on our previous papers to consider how Wales’ skills system can support a just transition to net zero:

The background paper also provides a short overview of universal basic income and a four-day working week in relation to retraining and the acquisition of new skills, acknowledging their costly nature and the uncertainty of their contribution towards achieving net zero and a just transition.

The transition to net zero requires the development of general, green and industry skills. Whilst there is evidence that this will create more jobs and an increase in demand for technical skills, Wales has a high number of low-skilled workers and a decreasing rate of participation in further education. This, combined with the fact that the Welsh economy has been shaped by its industrial history, means careful consideration is needed to meet decarbonisation targets whilst still ensuring the protection of workers and a just transition.