20 October 2021

Growing Green Careers in Dorset

Luke Rake

As the Government unveils its landmark Net Zero Strategy this week, setting out how the UK will secure 440,000 well-paid jobs and unlock £90 billion in investment in 2030, Dorset LEP Board Member and Principal/ Chief Executive of Kingston Maurward College Luke Rake outlines the opportunities for growing green careers in Dorset and developing the skills needed to achieve the county’s net zero ambitions.

The Dorset natural environment underpins much of our economy and our wellbeing, with more than half the county designated as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and home of important local, national and international sites for wildlife. There is also untapped potential in natural capital return – estimated to be worth some £1.5bn per year.

Dorset’s ambition to be at the forefront of tackling some of humanity’s biggest challenges and pioneering new approaches to food production, energy generation and climate change is central to Dorset LEP's recently published Dorset Living Better Investment Prospectus. Alongside this, is the Dorset Low Carbon Investment Opportunities document showcasing a range of investment opportunities and outlining Dorset’s ambition to be net zero by 2050.

Our aspirations however will remain out of reach if we are unable to attract and develop the human capital required for a Green Industrial Revolution.

Whilst there are growing opportunities, a recent survey estimated that 71% of children say they do not know enough about eco-friendly careers and this could stop them from finding their dream roles.

Spotlight on Green careers in Dorset

Focusing on the talent and skills pipeline, the Dorset Local Skills Report highlighted Environment, Agri-tech, Aquaculture and Green technology as key sectors for future growth in Dorset.

In a proactive stride to prepare  for the Government’s £166 million investment in green technology and the creation of 60,000 new green jobs, Dorset LEP’s Labour Market Insights lays out the exciting future prospects offered by Green careers pathways in Dorset.

The information finds the demand for green jobs is rapidly expanding in Dorset with 787 vacancies advertised by local employers over the first three quarters of this year.

Looking at developments in recent years, the report finds year on year rise in green job vacancies with an overall 73% increase this year on 2018.

Figure 1. Green jobs vacancies time series. Burning Glass Technologies: Labour Insight. 2021

Top employers in Dorset advertising green vacancies include the NHS, the Environmental Agency, Draken, South-West Water, BAE systems, Siemens, Curtis Wright, Bournemouth University and many more.

These high profile employers are on the lookout for engineers, energy advisors, project managers, sustainability and environmental health consultants/ officers and recycling managers to name a few from a wide range of specialisms.

It also reveals green jobs offer competitive salaries with the average advertised salary on the rise over the past years, currently reaching £31,500 and topping the average salary in the county by over £5,000.

The top specialist skills employers requested for these roles in Dorset were Environmental Management, Regulation and Standards, Quality Assurance, Sustainability and Waste reduction whilst Communication, Planning, Problem Solving and Research were among the most wanted transferable skills.

Blue and green skills programme for Dorset

Dorset’s Natural  investment portfolio outlines a ‘blue and green’ skills programme for Dorset to grow our green workforce across 5 key areas of interest:

Environment: Ecology and wildlife conservation; environmental science; environmental technologies.

Energy: STEM based skills in chemistry, specialist engineering, advanced manufacturing and materials science. 

Marine/aquaculture: National Centre of Marine Excellence; marine ecology and conservation; marine archaeology; boat building and handling.

Agri-Food/land: Horticulture and plant science; arboriculture; animal welfare and science; agriculture; land management.

Sustainable construction: Modern Methods of Construction.

Working in partnership across universities, colleges and other training providers in Dorset, Dorset LEP is supporting the development of a comprehensive suite of learning and skills opportunities.

Employer collaborations are sought to ensure that our current and future talent have the right skills, building on Dorset’s recognised strengths and specialisms.

These include the Kingston Maurward Business and University Hub - the first facility of its kind to co-locate environmental skills development with local businesses in Dorset. Kingston Maurward College has declared an ambition to become net zero by 2025 and in doing so secured a £2M SALIX grant for decarbonisation. The estate is accelerating its role in the green agenda as a leading specialist in land-based courses and apprenticeships, from ecology to conservation, including business studies, land management and rural development.

Bournemouth & Poole College offers a wide range of Engineering and Construction courses and apprenticeship opportunities that provide fantastic career prospects and offer an entry into the green sector.

Weymouth College recently unveiled upgraded motor vehicle workshop with hybrid and electric vehicles added to the college’s motor vehicle fleet and new Centres of Excellence to offer increased emphasis on environmentally sustainable construction and plumbing with solar/thermal pathways.

In terms of degree level opportunities, Bournemouth University also provides a number of courses in Life and Environmental sciences, and an IEMA accredited distance learning Master’s Degree in Green Economy.

Future projections and collaborations

Partners across Dorset have demonstrated a great sense of determination and collaboration with some fantastic results. Yet projected future growth outlined in the recently published Green Job Taskforce report is exponential:

  • by 2026, the offshore wind sector could employ around 70,000 workers (which compares to c. 26,000 presently)
  • UK could produce around 1.6 million electric vehicles per year by 2040 which could create up to 78,000 new jobs
  • every building in the country in need of retrofit will require 12,000 workers to be trained every year for about the next four years

These figures show there is clearly a way to go and concerted efforts are required for creating and promoting good green jobs, skills and competitive supply chains, whilst ensuring industry and the education sector in Dorset all work together to provide clear pathways and support people to work in the new green economy.

With the bright future potential outlined here we hope that more talented people in Dorset are informed about the options they have to turn their passion into a career and help save the planet and protect our outstanding natural environment.

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