Retrofit skills gap threatens UK’s Net Zero target

18 Jul 2023

Today Reed in Partnership has launched Reed Environment to address the UK’s Net Zero skills shortage. It will create a newly trained green workforce to help the UK meet its Net Zero targets and spread economic opportunity across the country.

Reed Environment’s ambition is to create one of the largest networks of green skills training providers in the UK. It will begin by delivering retrofitting training at scale and creating a recruitment pipeline for retrofit. It estimates that this new workforce could reduce the carbon footprint of millions of UK homes, which are responsible for around 20% of the country’s carbon emissions.

Reed Environment has today shared new research which lays bare the urgent need to turbocharge retrofit training and recruitment in the UK. Its modelling estimates that current rates of retrofit recruitment must triple if the country is to meet its 2050 Net Zero target. If these rates don’t increase, then the UK won’t achieve its target number of energy efficient installations to meet its Net Zero goal until 2105 – a further 55 years beyond 2050.*

James Reed CBE, Chairman of Reed in Partnership, said

“The UK is in a race to reach Net Zero by 2050. Meeting this target quickly is not only key to protecting the environment, but it is also a huge economic opportunity to create highly skilled jobs. A lack of skilled workers means we are currently falling behind.

James Reed CBE Chairman of Reed in Partnership

“Nowhere is the UK’s green skills gap more apparent than in the retrofitting of our ageing housing stock. Currently, there is a serious shortage of retrofit training and recruitment pathways, meaning we are unable to embark on the retrofitting revolution that needs to happen. We need urgent action if we are to meet our Net Zero targets and that’s why we’re launching Reed Environment to help address this problem.”

Reed Environment is investing in the Oxford Energy Academy, the highly-rated Ofsted training provider, to initially offer training for two retrofit assessment courses – the Domestic Energy Assessor and Retrofit Assessor – both of which form the foundation for undertaking a retrofit project.

Reed Environment will add over 1000 new retrofitters to the market each year when at full capacity - a 94% increase on current yearly recruitment levels.** It will connect the newly trained workers to job opportunities with Local Authorities, Housing Associations, and private landlords.

Reed Environment will combine its experience in delivering training programmes quickly at scale, with the Oxford Energy Academy’s technical expertise and track record of offering courses covering a broad spectrum of the energy industry.

Between now and 2025, Reed Environment will expand its reach by opening new Energy Academies across the UK to broaden the Net Zero skills training it offers, including new retrofit courses, as well as solar, Electric Vehicles and heat pump training.

These Academies will provide first of its kind training at scale, job opportunities, energy advice and consultancy solutions to propel the UK along its trajectory to Net Zero. These will be created in areas that are most in need of Net Zero skills training to ensure access is spread equally.

Reed in Partnership is part of Reed Group, the largest family-owned recruitment company in the world.

About the data in this release

*The assessment is based on analysis by Development Economics of the estimated number of required home insulation installations based on data provided in the Committee for Climate Change Progress Report. This is alongside labour market forecasting commissioned by the Construction Industry Training Board, as well as information on current training and accreditation trajectories provided by Reed Environment.

**A 94% increase is based on Reed Environment adding 1,000 new retrofitters to the current levels of retrofit training modelled in our research at 1,070 per annum.