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Wanted: 400,000 New Recruits for UK Clean Energy Jobs by 2050

Wind power turbineDennis Schroeder/NREL/Flickr

The United Kingdom will have to recruit 400,000 people into clean energy jobs of all kinds to achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, according to a recent study conducted for National Grid, the country’s electricity and gas provider.

And some 117,000 of those job-holders will be needed “in the next decade to help meet key milestones up to 2050,” reports [1] the UK’s ITV network. They’ll be needed “to deliver projects such as offshore wind farms, technology to capture and store carbon emissions, and enabling the grid to cope with more electric vehicles and heating.” The list of occupations ranges from cybersecurity personnel, to data engineers, to tradespeople making home visits to “replace old boilers with new technology,” said National Grid Chief Engineer David Wright.

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The new jobs will be located across the UK, including Scotland and Wales, both slated to become major centres for both onshore and offshore wind.  The job numbers include a projected 17,000 in the Yorkshire and Humber region if carbon capture and storage ever moves from fantasy to reality.

There should be plenty of people answering the call, writes ITV, after research by YouGov found that “78% of people thought they should play a role in the UK’s journey to net zero,” while 57% “are interested in working for an organization helping to deliver on the goal.”

But there will be obstacles, including “the challenges of a looming retirement crunch, stiff competition with other sectors such as tech and finance, not enough young people choosing science, technology, engineering and maths, and a lack of women in the sector.”

Already gearing up to help is Nathan Hunt, 17, of Cambridgeshire, “who switched away from the A-levels and university route onto an advanced apprenticeship with National Grid” after graduating. He told ITV he was strongly motivated by a desire to help fight the climate crisis:

“Personally, I think it’s really important,” he said. “I think we should leave the planet in a better state for future generations than we’ve got it in, we should improve it for future generations, not make it worse—and we need to do it now.”