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Time to grow our green skills

August saw the publication of the City of London’s Skyline Skills Recommendations Report 2023. The report warns that one of the biggest barriers to decarbonising the built environment is a lack of people with the relevant skills. And it calls for a structured approach to training, upskilling and policy making.

The City of London’s focus is quite small: on corporate office buildings located within the Square Mile. But green skills are needed across all parts of the built environment: roads, rail, utilities, housing, hospitals, schools, offices, industrial buildings.

The good news is that many people who work in the construction sector already have some green skills and are deploying them. LinkedIn’s latest Green Skills Report, based on analysis of job adverts and appointments, lists the fastest growing green skills as sustainable design, renewable energy, wind energy, energy efficiency, climate change and erosion control. They all feel pretty relevant for our sector.

Perhaps you are already working in a ‘green job’, defined by the Government as ‘Employment in an activity that directly contributes to – or indirectly supports – the achievement of the UK's net zero emissions target and other environmental goals, such as nature restoration and mitigation against climate risks.’

The challenge now is how to build on the green skills and jobs we have in a way that helps accelerate the UK’s transition to net zero. A June 2023 report from the Local Government Association (LGA), Green jobs, Creating the workforce to deliver net zero, calls for a longer-term, more strategic approach from national government. The best way to grow the right jobs locally, says LGA, is for the Government to plan what investments will be needed where and align funding and training so that local authorities and others can create the skills needed.

Without this kind of strategic approach, our sector - and others – will be facing skills shortages. In turn that means huge wage inflation in certain roles, or companies being forced to hire people without the necessary competencies and train them up – and then risk losing them to the highest bidder. We are already seeing this happen in some roles. For instance, anecdotal evidence says that people with carbon accountancy skills are in huge demand, with companies struggling to fill positions or losing potential candidates to competitors who are offering higher wages.

The other thing we all could and should do is communicate more clearly about what our sector does, explaining that we already have many green jobs, and that they are growing every day. An October 2022 survey of over 1,000 graduates, by graduate career company Prospects, found that 91% wanted jobs enabling them to make a difference in people's lives and 86% said it was vital that the company they work for has a positive environmental impact.

At Thermal Road Repairs, we are proud that our pothole repair technology saves over 85% of carbon emissions compared to traditional methods, that we are re-using failed asphalt instead of replacing it, and that we are doing it quietly and quickly. But it is doubtful that a passerby would realise that the pothole fixing crews are working with greener technology. Perhaps we should be shouting a bit more loudly about it!


Thermal Road Repairs is a green technology company which supplies systems to improve the quality, cost and time efficiency of road repairs and paving – at a far lower environmental cost than traditional methods. It invests significantly in R&D, to create new technologies and to continuously improve existing ones.

Thermal Road Repairs: Decarbonising the asphalt repair industry.

High output. Low emission. Zero waste. Permanent solution.



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