While nearly 4 in 10 firms feel confident they could hire more competent employees if needed, nearly one fifth do not believe they can fill the skills gap at present.
According to the findings of a new industry-wide ‘skills for climate’ consultation, shortages of skilled workers capable of handling solar PV, heat pumps, energy storage systems and smart buildings are most concerning.
If demand was to increase ‘substantially’ over the next two years, just 10% of firms said they would have enough competent workers, with a quarter admitting they would ‘struggle’ to meet an upswing.
Electrical Contractors Association director of skills Andrew Eldred said: “Our industry consultation highlights the growing scale of the skills challenge in the low carbon arena, which comes on top of broader skills shortages in many engineering and skilled trades.
“Engineering services businesses, most of which are SMEs, are key to the delivery of low carbon technologies.
“There is an urgent need for Government and industry to work more effectively together to build the skills-base that will be required.”
Almost half of the respondents said that there was a lack of ‘sufficient industry training’ for those involved in low carbon work.
Dr Nina Skorupska, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “This important survey should send a clear signal to those, particularly young people, affected by lockdown that now is a great time to become an installer and help deliver on our country’s low-carbon ambitions.
“Installation companies clearly see renewable energy and clean technologies as an area for future growth and Government can kick-start this sector by ensuring solar and energy storage are firmly part of the Green Homes Grant scheme.”
The consultation was run by ECA, in association with the REA, STA, BESA and The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) during July and August this year.