At least 1,000 Green Deal apprentices could receive Government funding towards their training, as part of plans to insulate the UK’s homes and businesses against rising energy prices and reduce carbon emissions.
Funding for the apprenticeships is part of a package of measures announced by the Government today to create a skilled workforce for its flagship Green Deal programme.
Today’s announcement, made during a visit by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne to B&Q’s flagship energy saving store in Sutton, has received the backing of leading companies including B&Q, Carillion, E.ON, British Gas and InstaGroup.
The Deputy Prime Minister said: “We want to be the greenest government ever. We will reshape the economy, change the way we power our transport, heat our homes, and generate our electricity. We must put the development of the green economy at the centre of our ambitions to rebalance the economy.
“The Green Deal is about the future – and it is important we ensure that future generations have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the green economy. These apprenticeships are a perfect example of how government and business can work together towards a low carbon future.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable added: “Teaching practical skills is as essential to growing the green economy as complex scientific research. Without them we will be unable to take full advantage of the huge potential for economic growth the green economy offers.
“Apprenticeships offer the perfect training for creating the skilled workforce we need – providing the practical on the job training aligned to employers’ needs. Green Deal apprenticeships will play a critical role in its success.”
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “The new green economy is going to support jobs, growth and help defend Britain from high oil prices.
“The Green Deal is a great opportunity to seal Britain’s draughty buildings. To succeed we’ll need a big injection of skills and investment which is why today’s announcement is important.
“The Green Deal is likely to support 100,000 jobs by 2015 and up to 250,000 when it reaches its peak and will be great news for local economies with local firms encouraged to get involved in this new exciting industry.”
Measures to develop the skilled workforce needed include:
* Department for Business and Department for Education will provide sufficient funding to match employer demand to train at least 1000 Green Deal apprentices aged 16 and over
* Employers and Sector Skills Councils (SummitSkills, Asset Skills & ConstructionSkills) will design new apprenticeship frameworks and revise existing ones, for workers to be trained or re-trained with the skills that this growth sector will require
* DECC will work with the sector to set out new standards for green deal installers and will work with employers to encourage them to take on new trainees and up-skill their existing staff
* In addition, DECC will also offer concessions on the Green Deal installer registration fees for those organisations which take on young people
This package of measures will help apprentices become experts in a range of areas including cavity and solid wall insulation, new energy efficient heating systems and also learn about new green technologies.
Welcoming today's announcement, Euan Sutherland, CEO B&Q and Kingfisher UK, said: “B&Q is delighted to support a programme that encourages Green Deal employment opportunities. As the first retailer to introduce a City & Guilds qualification for retail skills selling eco products last year, a green apprenticeship programme is a great next step towards creating a greener work force able to advise and help more home owners access energy efficiency measures to green up their homes.”
And Phil Bentley, Managing Director of British Gas, added: “British Gas has the biggest apprenticeship programme in the energy sector and we look forward to playing a leading role in the Green Deal.
“In the last 18 months, British Gas created 1000 new green collar jobs and we’re planning to recruit almost 2000 more this year."
Carillion Chief Executive, John McDonough, said: “We expect The Green Deal to create major new opportunities in the energy services market. Through Carillion’s proposed acquisition of Eaga plc, we aim to create the UK’s largest independent energy services provider, capable of playing a leading role in helping to deliver the Government’s Green Deal objectives.
“As a leading private sector provider of apprenticeship training services, we train over 2000 apprentices every year in our national network of 17 training centres. Carillion will therefore be looking to use its experience and resources to train the apprentices needed to support the delivery of The Green Deal. ”
Managing Director of InstaGroup, Robin Davies said: “Green Deal Apprenticeships represent a great opportunity for young people to work towards a truly sustainable career in the new Green market place.”
Don Leiper, Director, New Business, E.ON Energy Solutions, said: “Making sure that we have the right skills available is going to be vital to delivering the energy efficiency measures that the country’s homes need. We’ve already invested heavily in our own facilities to train our teams, alongside local people, in the communities where we’re installing energy efficiency measures and we’re also taking a lead in developing the right qualifications for the low carbon energy sector. It’s therefore great news that the Government is giving its own backing to investment in green skills.”
The Government is already working with a number of councils to explore how they can develop their role in the Green Deal – from supporting whole community refurbishment and training of local people, to creating and focussing local demand to encourage investment. Greater Manchester in particular will be working closely with social landlords to promote greater energy efficiency while also developing local skills.
Cllr Dave Goddard, Chair of the Greater Manchester Environment Commission said: “This apprenticeship scheme will kick start the capacity that local areas need to deliver the Green Deal to homes and businesses. It will capitalise on the groundbreaking work and unique partnerships already in place between businesses, colleges and the public sector across Greater Manchester by helping them deliver on the local jobs and growth potential of a low carbon economy."
Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, whose portfolio covers sustainability, added: "Birmingham is committed to cutting CO2 emissions by 60% by 2026. The Government's Green Deal working in partnership with local councils will ensure that we not only save energy but also create local jobs and apprenticeships through the procurement process.
“Green Deal will provide cities like Birmingham with a huge investment and job creation opportunity as we develop the goods and services required to transform our inefficient homes and buildings into cheap to run, low carbon buildings of the future."
This scheme has also received the backing of the Princes Trust, who believe that this is a great opportunity for young people.
Ginny Lunn, Director of Policy & Development at youth charity The Prince’s Trust, said: “Many young people are passionate about the environment and the green economy is, potentially, a real growth sector. The Prince’s Trust welcome initiatives that enable unemployed young people to gain apprenticeships and sustainable jobs.”