Media release - 15/7/2009

Success of Low Carbon Industrial Strategy Will Depend On Engineering Talent

Engineers are ready to rise to the challenges set out in today’s Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, but more will be needed to deliver on this ambition according to The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB.)

Responding to today’s Ministerial announcements, which aim to reduce carbon emissions by 34% by 2020 and to increase business growth and employment in green technologies, the ETB welcomed the announcement but emphasised the scale of the challenge and the need for sustainable and consistent policy direction.

The Strategy rightly recognises the need for engineering skills to achieve the UK’s low carbon future. The ETB’s Engineering UK report demonstrates the scale of this challenge and that nuclear power alone will require 11,500 new entrants into the workforce by 2015, rising to 16,500 depending on retirement rates. There is also a significant skills demand in the renewables sector. Latest figures put the skills demand for Solar energy at 170,419, Photovoltaic power at 84,612 and Combined Heat and Power at 147,913. Many of these jobs will be at engineering technician level and will need to be supplied by Further Education. For the Further Education system to ensure the right level of supply of skilled engineers for these roles there needs to be certainty that the Government’s energy priorities are set for the long term.

Business too will require reassurance that any investments made in renewable energy technology and plant, such as those which the Strategy seeks to encourage through Low Carbon Economic Areas and Forward Commitment Procurement, will not be rendered redundant by successive changes in direction in Government energy policy. By ensuring policy consistency the UK Government will encourage more environmental R&D and help develop UK global leadership in these technologies.

It is therefore important that, whilst making allowances for the emergence of new technologies, the Government should commit to these plans for the long term.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of the ETB said: “It is good to see this continued commitment to the climate change agenda. These announcements include some ambitious figures for reductions in carbon emissions. In order to achieve these we will need more skilled engineers with the relevant skills and further investment in green technology. It is important to recognise the need for consistency and stability in this crucial policy area to secure the future of the UK energy supply and to meet the Government’s targets.”

Notes to Editors

For further information please contact:
Gareth Lyon, Communications Executive, EngineeringUK
Tel: 020 3206 0445 or (m) 07887 943 017

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