Re-thinking local: skills and the green economy

Many people have been working in very different ways or have been forced to take breaks from working altogether. This has led many of us to question what we want from work and how it fits into our lives.

We are asking fundamental questions about the shape of our economy post-COVID-19. What do people want from their jobs, their careers and their lives and how can we deliver that in the new green economy?

Nearly 700,000 direct jobs could be created in England’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy by 2030, rising to more than 1.18 million by 2050. We need to think again about how we support people into those jobs and ensure they have the skills the local economy needs. Long term recovery can only be delivered by industries that have a long-term future in a post carbon economy.

We must also reflect on our own role as a major employer. Our workforce has achieved amazing things throughout the last few months. They have shown resilience and capacity to adapt whilst serving the public in difficult circumstances. We must invest in our own workforce as well as the skills needed for the local economy.

Councils have supported the unemployed and local businesses. They know how long-term unemployment affects communities and public services. Past local economic shocks were dealt with swiftly by councils bringing together local and national partners to coordinate support.

Twenty employment and skills funding streams are managed by eight departments or agencies, spending more than £10 billion a year. Despite this investment, they often fail to meet local need, address economic and social challenges, or make a decisive impact on outcomes. An integrated and devolved approach to skills could have huge benefits. For a medium-sized combined authority each year this could lead to an additional 8,500 people leaving benefits and 5,700 people increasing their qualification levels, with additional local fiscal benefits of £280 million per year and £420 million to the economy.

We need strong, visible, joined-up democratic and accountable leadership nationally and locally to address these issues, and we need a strategy in place now.

Our offer to Government

To provide an integrated and devolved approach to skills, increasing qualifications and bringing fiscal benefits.
Our ask of Government

The Government should back the LGA’s ‘Work Local’ model for integrated and devolved employment and skills provision by funding local pathfinders in each region.