A new report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) on ‘Skills for Zero Carbon’ advises on the skills required in the transition to renewable energy generation, built-environment energy efficiency, and sustainable transport.
The report predicts increased demand for legal skills, even as certain other occupations are phased out.
It sets out the core occupations and skills, and identifies a range of broader issues related to skills development in zero-carbon activities.
The transition to a zero-carbon economy will lead to changes in sectors and occupations, and the phasing out of existing roles – but also demands for new skills and competencies, as well as employment opportunities.
Consistent demand will be created across engineering, environmental, science, humanities, legal and professional roles, as well as in construction, retrofit, transport and logistics, and electric-vehicle maintenance.
Employment in wind and solar-energy generation will have to quickly increase to 8,000 employees (from a 3,000 baseline) within several years, and ultimately stand at 9,000 employees by 2030.
The workforce engaged in residential retrofit and heat-pump installation will similarly have to ramp up quickly and increase more than fourfold (from around 4,000 employees), to stand at over 17,000 employees for the remainder of the decade.
The existing motor-mechanic workforce will need to be transitioned to work on electric vehicles as EV uptake increases.
The report sets out 30 recommendations for zero-carbon economy stakeholders to Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, who said that climate action ambitions would transform the economy and society, impacting existing activities and roles, but also generating demand for new, more sustainable skills and occupations.
The development of sectors such as renewable energy, retrofit and sustainable transport, would also play a crucial role in recovery from the pandemic, and the Government’s target of having at least 2.5 million people in employment in Ireland from 2024, he said.