More than two-thirds of industry employers have been affected by delays and uncertainties over government policy on renewable energy, it has been discovered.
Almost 26% said they have been unwilling to invest in staff training due to delays over the Green Deal and further changes to the solar Feed-in-Tariff (FiT). A further 25% said they have decreased their investment and over 14% have postponed training.
The findings come from an independent survey, conducted on behalf of EAL, the awarding organisation for industry qualifications. Five-hundred employers from sectors including engineering and manufacturing, building services, construction, logistics, and energy and utilities were questioned about the government’s green policies and how they have affected their business.
These include the Green Deal, a flagship £14bn scheme to retro-fit 14 million UK homes with energy efficient technologies, which is due to launch in autumn but has been subject to delays. Also, there have been delayed changes to the FiT after government was defeated in the High Court, when planned cuts in funding were deemed unlawful. And growing political opposition to the government’s plan for wind energy, after more than 100 Conservative MPs called on prime minister David Cameron to redistribute funding among other sustainable technologies.
The uncertainties over renewable energy technologies affect the majority of industry employers, as only 14% said they have no need to train or up skill their staff in green skills. The lack of clarity on how individual technologies and industries will be supported was cited by 31% as a major concern, however.
Other concerns among employers include a lack of capacity among existing staff to learn new roles (22%) and the time needed out of the business to train staff for the changes (33%).
Ann Watson is the managing director of EAL, which already offers a number of green technology related qualifications. She said, “The survey shows that the vast majority of industry employers believe they will be affected by government policy on renewable energy but delays and uncertainties have caused a great deal of concern and confusion. Businesses do not know which technologies will be supported and, therefore, are not investing and preparing their staff for the future of energy production in the UK.
“The Green Deal, for example, will be a massive investment that will generate thousands of jobs, but because the final details are still being worked out, businesses are holding back on preparing their workforce. The Green Deal is due for launch this autumn and is relying on industry to have the right level of skills and staff in place to meet demand for green technologies to be installed in millions of homes and businesses.
“Government must send a strong message about what support it is offering to businesses that are looking to invest in green technologies. It must also reassure employers by finalising sustainability policies and putting in place an effective agenda for moving the UK forward in its efforts to become a more energy efficient country.”