MCS responds to Welsh Government’s net zero skills consultation

In October 2023, the Welsh Government launched a three-month consultation on the skills needed to support Wales’s transition to Net Zero. MCS welcomes the consultation and looks forward to working closely with the Welsh Government to deliver on the skills needed to build a robust, renewable workforce that is ready to meet the current demand for renewable energy across Wales.

MCS team members sat at table discussing.

2023 was a record-breaking year for small-scale renewable uptake in Wales. MCS data shows that more than 100,000 MCS certified installations have now been installed in Wales since records began in 2008. Nearly 8% of all Welsh households now have some form of renewable energy, placing Wales at the top of the home nations for renewables uptake. Despite these milestones, Wales must address the ongoing skills shortages across the small-scale renewables sectors if they are to reach their Net Zero targets.

Steve Knight, Sector Skills Manager at MCS, says, “We are delighted to contribute to this consultation and welcome the opportunity to advance the already progressive measures in place in Wales as we develop a workforce capable of delivering Net Zero. MCS look forward to working with the Welsh Government to ensure they have the capability to meet demand and deliver quality installations across Welsh homes and businesses.”

Here’s a look at what MCS responded to the consultation:

Awareness of pathways into the sector

MCS believes there needs to be an increased awareness among young people of both the potential impact of ‘green jobs’ and pathways into the renewable sector. Research conducted by The MCS Foundation shows that while there is an appetite for Gen-Z to do jobs that are ‘good for the planet’, they don’t know enough about them or the pathways to secure them. This is something that needs to be addressed to encourage uptake of jobs within the renewable industry.

Long-term policy support

MCS would like to see long-term support from Welsh Government in the form of subsidies, grants, and low- or zero-interest loans to support homeowners in their transition to renewable energy. This would encourage businesses to invest in apprentices and provide training on upskilling existing staff.

Net Zero skills definition

MCS believe that there needs to be greater clarity surrounding the definition of ‘green jobs’ and ‘Net Zero’ when recruiting into the renewable sector. These words are used often but hold little meaning for those not familiar with the renewables industry. While accepting the need for clarification around the definition, MCS recommend caution with how the phrase is used more widely, as it risks alienating young people from even considering a role in renewables.

Next Steps

MCS is keen to work with all interested parties to drive the uptake of small-scale renewable technologies across Wales and the UK as a whole. We feel that it is important that employer’s needs and those of the wider industry are met in order to develop the Welsh renewable workforce. MCS look forward to working closely with the Welsh Government to deliver on their Net Zero skills agenda and seeing the outcome of the consultation in due course.

Click here to read more about the Welsh Government’s consultation.