The net zero transition will create new jobs across all regions of the UK, including between 120,000 and 160,000 entry level jobs. New entrants to the workforce will be needed to meet this demand. But the UK is currently experiencing a tight labour market and acute skills gaps are already emerging across sectors of the economy that most urgently need to decarbonise.
Young people are keen to be part of the solution, and many are drawn to green jobs. Creating pathways for them to develop green skills and gain employment can help address skills gaps, reduce youth unemployment and improve the life chances of those who are currently not in education, employment or training (NEET). But young people from marginalised backgrounds are currently facing significant barriers to accessing training and job opportunities, and there are insufficient opportunities to meet demand.
A new pathway is needed. Drawing on lessons from case studies in the UK and abroad, we call on the government to set up a programme of semi-funded job placements which would allow young people from all backgrounds to develop green skills. This could originally be targeted at areas with high levels of youth who are NEET and expected demand for entry level green jobs, before being rolled out across the UK.