As we move towards a net-zero carbon future for Essex, we need to ensure the county has a workforce that’s ready to take advantage of the huge opportunities this transition will bring. This is why green skills are so essential.
Green jobs are booming. We know across Greater Essex there is an opportunity to create more than 16,000 green jobs by 2030 – transitioning the workforce into growing sectors of the economy whilst reducing Greater Essex’s environmental impact. Economic growth and a cleaner, greener Greater Essex go hand in hand.
But we know there are significant skills gaps which we need to combat if we are to really grasp the possibilities of our move to net-zero. The problem is not unique to Essex, but as Cabinet Member for Education Excellence, Lifelong Learning and Employability, I am determined that we do everything we can to equip our Essex workforce with these critical skills for the future.
As part of this journey, this month I am delighted to be hosting the first ever Essex Green Skills Summit, which will explore how schools, colleges, training providers and employers can develop skills for a net-zero carbon future. I will also be joined at the summit by my colleague Cllr Lesley Wagland OBE, Cabinet Member for Economic Renewal, Infrastructure and Planning.
The summit will play an important role in our Levelling Up agenda by exploring how we can build green skills for secure jobs, whilst ensuring every resident has equal access to these education and employment opportunities in the green economy.
The free event will feature expert speakers from local, national and international organisations, including our two event partners – RWE, the largest power producer in the UK, and Freeport East, one of eight new freeports across the UK, based at Harwich
The agenda includes roundtable discussions as well as the chance for attendees to explore new ways to provide green skills training and employment opportunities across the county. The event will also mark the launch of the Essex Green Skills Pledge – a digital pledge, offering the opportunity for organisations to commit to accelerating green skills provision. As the engines of growth, the importance of bringing businesses with us on this journey cannot be overstated.
We are looking forward to bringing partners together to discuss such an important topic, which will have such a huge bearing on the future green economy of Essex. From retrofit and reverse logistics to farming and mechanics, Essex needs a workforce that’s ready for a net-zero carbon future.
We all know that every business and every employee will need to adapt their ways of working to meet our future sustainability needs, and the Essex Green Skills Summit will help us to make sense of these changes and commit to providing new opportunities for current learners and future generations.
To support our bold ambitions for the green economy, we are also seeking to unlock significant funding opportunities and the ability to exert greater influence over how and where we invest in skills provision across the county. The devolution of existing Government activity to local government in Greater Essex will help us achieve this by growing green opportunities at pace and scale, helping build the skills and workforce needed for a greener future.
The first Essex Green Skills Summit will take place at the Essex County Cricket Ground between 9am and 2pm on Friday 9 June. Attendance is free and virtual tickets are still available. I would encourage people to sign up to attend and I look forward to seeing you there.