A surge in well-paid and secure employment within the green sector is anticipated to benefit tens of thousands of individuals in West Yorkshire by the mid-century mark, reveals research conducted by the Local Government Association.

According to data, over 70,000 green jobs are slated to be established across the region by 2050. This revelation accompanies the launch of a groundbreaking green skills action plan by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, in collaboration with local businesses and educational institutions.

Mayor Brabin, committing £6.5 million of investment to the initiative, crafted the plan after a year-long dialogue with more than 300 young people. Part of the broader “Green Jobs Taskforce,” the plan was unveiled at an event in Leeds on February 21, where the taskforce put forth a set of policy recommendations.

The taskforce, consisting of experts from both the public and private sectors, urged Mayor Brabin to infuse her £65 million Adult Education Budget with “green rocket fuel.” The proposal encompasses targeted measures aimed at assisting individuals in acquiring new green skills and aiding businesses in recruiting skilled green workers.

The six-point action plan championed by Mayor Brabin encompasses:

  1. “Inspiring” every young person in the region with free green careers advice, initiating with a pilot scheme across 130 primary schools.
  2. “Facilitating” easy access to green skills and job information through an online showcase called “Go Green.”
  3. “Supporting” providers to adapt their curriculum to integrate local green career opportunities.
  4. “Enabling” businesses to adopt green practices, save on energy costs, and attract talent via a pilot scheme assisting in graduate recruitment.
  5. “Embedding” new green skills partnerships, including the establishment of a “Regional Retrofit Advisory Board” with the Leeds College of Building.
  6. “Strengthening” existing green skills partnerships, including collaboration with the Department for Education to develop new technical qualifications addressing green skills gaps.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “We have a clear roadmap to build a stronger, greener West Yorkshire which deals with the challenges and seizes the opportunities of the future.

“Faced with sky-high energy bills and the looming threat of floods, our businesses are already counting the cost of the climate crisis.

“It’s about time we reaped the rewards of a green transition – new skilled jobs, a revitalised economy, and a greener environment for future generations.

“I’m proud of the work of our Green Jobs Taskforce, which will pave the way for thousands of new well-paid jobs, on the road to a net zero carbon West Yorkshire by 2038.”

Phil Holdgate, Head of Production Sustainability at ITV Studios and Member of the West Yorkshire Green Jobs Taskforce, said; “It has been a pleasure and an honour to be part of the West Yorkshire Green Jobs Task Force. The transition towards a net zero society poses both a significant challenge and also an incredible opportunity, and having the Task Force’s recommendations adopted by Mayor Brabin puts our region in good shape to be ready to meet those needs head on.”

Georgia, a student at Netherhall Learning Campus in Huddersfield and graduate of the West Yorkshire Green Skills Youth Programme, said; “I was delighted to have the opportunity to work on the Green Skills Youth programme as it gave me the chance to broaden my understanding of the green economy.

“It also gave me an understanding of the diverse nature of green careers as well as an insight into how companies can work with communities to develop a greener living lifestyle.”

The West Yorkshire Green Jobs Taskforce, launched in January 2022, was tasked with fulfilling Mayor Brabin’s pledge to create 1,000 green, skilled, well-paid jobs for young people. To date, businesses have pledged 1,074 jobs, with 365 workers already employed.

Representatives from Leeds College of Building, Yorkshire Universities, Trades Union Congress (TUC), and businesses including Northern Powergrid, Enfinium, C-Capture, and ITV form part of the taskforce. A “green job” is defined as employment contributing to environmental protection or restoration, such as the installation and maintenance of heat pumps and solar panels.