Skills for green industry should be prioritised in schools

Three in four UK adults (76%) believe renewable energy will be important to the global economy in the future, with the majority of Brits suggesting that teaching skills for the […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Three in four UK adults (76%) believe renewable energy will be important to the global economy in the future, with the majority of Brits suggesting that teaching skills for the industry should be prioritised over all others.

They would like to see more Government initiatives to support the renewables industry, including investment plans and tax breaks, according to a new survey of 2,008 adults.

Two in three (66%) believe Britain should be leading the way in green manufacturing and 61% of them suggested science, engineering and technology (SET) skills should be given greater priority in schools and colleges. This includes 69% of men compared to 52% of women whereas younger people are less convinced, with just under half (47%) of 18-24 year olds agreeing with this strategy.

The Attitudes to UK Industry report also found UK adults believe renewables are the environmental and economic future for our country though a significant number are concerned about how well we can keep up with global competitors.

Only one in five (20%) said new ways of extracting and getting the best from fossil fuels and natural gas will drive down energy prices and push renewables out of the market and more than one in four (29%) said the reality is that the UK will not be able to keep up and Government support is better used in traditional industry such as automobiles.

John Fisher, a consultant at technical communications firm CadenceFisher, which sponsored the survey said: “It has never been clearer that sustainability has captured the public’s imagination and entered the general lexicon but we must look to the future for UK industry to gain advantage. To be at the heart of European and global growth in the renewables market, among others, education in the subjects and skills to produce tomorrow’s engineers must not be allowed to drop down the agenda.”

Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed also said they would like to see the Government invest in a new generation of nuclear power, with the figure including nearly two thirds of men (60%) versus one in three women (32%).

Last month the Scottish Government announced funding worth £6.5 million to boost training in oil and gas, renewables and other energy industries.