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New study to identify South West’s skills gaps in journey to net zero

A major green skills mapping study, commissioned by the South West Net Zero Hub, will assess the current provision of low-carbon skills and training, and identify requirements to achieve the region’s net zero ambitions. 

The landmark initiative is designed to advise and help shape future policy and delivery in training, education and workforce development as the region progresses towards becoming a carbon net zero economy.

Gemserv has been commissioned to produce a South West wide report identifying skills and employment gaps in the retrofit and heat pump sectors across the region’s seven Local Enterprise Areas. Alongside this regional report, the Heart of the South West LEP is funding Gemserv to produce an area-specific report for Devon, Somerset, Plymouth and Torbay.

The study will focus on four key themes across the Heart of the South West: retrofit and heat pumps, solar PV, offshore wind, and low-carbon transport.

David Lewis, Senior Project Manager at South West Net Zero Hub, said: “This is a comprehensive and detailed research project that will underpin the future skill requirements and funding for retrofit and heat pump delivery, and wider climate mitigation and adaptation projects over the coming years. It is testament to the South West regional LEPs and the South West Net Zero Hub working in partnership to achieve this undertaking.”

Will Hargreaves, Policy and Insight Consultant at Gemserv, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the Heart of the South West LEP and South West Net Zero Hub on this low-carbon skills and training study. A skilled low-carbon workforce is essential to achieve the net zero ambition of the region and grow the low-carbon economy. 

“Through understanding the current skills and training provision, gaps, and solutions required for net zero, the study will help set the scene for potential investment in skills and training. We are looking forward to working with the LEP and stakeholders across the region to develop this research.”

Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, said: “Our region has set ambitious targets to reach net zero, and upskilling the workforce is a crucial step in being able to meet those. This study will help to identify which skills and training areas need prioritising, so industry can work at scale to retrofit our buildings, and sustainability heat our homes.”

As part of the study, Gemserv has issued a survey to local businesses involved in the insulation retrofit and heat pump industry, education and training providers, and local government officials and organisations to inform understanding of skills and workforce needs. Organisations across the sector are being encouraged to take the survey by 12th January, to help identify what is needed to meet growing industry demands.

With the support of the Heart of the South West LEP, Gemserv will also explore the skills requirements for solar PV, floating offshore wind, and low carbon transport across the area. 

Organisations can take the insulation retrofit and heat pump survey here.

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