Generation UK and Macquarie’s Skilling for Net Zero report

Graduates Mohigul, Faisa and Barbara share their experience of the Green Jobs1 programme and their transition into jobs in the green energy sector.2

In September 2021, Macquarie and Generation UK, a non-profit organisation with a mission to support people facing barriers to employment, entered a partnership to develop a new training programme which provides the skills and knowledge required to work in the green energy sector.

Both Macquarie and Generation UK, saw the opportunity to meet the challenges of unemployment and the rising demand for green jobs in tandem, by providing unemployed individuals with the opportunity to participate in train-and-place programmes. These programmes equip people with skills required for roles essential to the green energy transition and also opens up alternative pathways of employment for those involved.

Led by Generation UK with guidance from experts across Macquarie and its MAM Green Investments and supported with funding from the Macquarie Group Foundation. The aim of the partnership was to launch the UK’s first green jobs programme that would:

  • support people facing barriers to employment and place them into a programme which offers job-specific training; and
  •  create a pipeline of skilled, diverse and motivated new hires to meet the labour demand in the green energy sector.

Skilling for Net Zero report

Together, Macquarie and Generation UK developed a report that reviews the development and delivery of our Green Jobs programme, from the methodology, programme design, to the diagnostic of selecting which specific green job we would focus on. Over three months the project team spoke to 150 experts, prospective employers and industry stakeholders and reviewed over 20 sector reports. We created a list of around 20 roles and narrowed it down to the Retrofit Advisor role which clearly met our criteria.

Retrofit Advisors are found across a variety of employers, housing associations, energy and utility providers, they have two key job responsibilities:

  • provide expert advice, guidance and troubleshooting to homeowners, renters and tenants on energy efficiency and retrofit measures; and
  • deliver efficient process support and administration, including booking visits/installations, collating energy documentation, conducting initial triage.

By sharing the report findings and using these to enhance the programme, we will continue to support future cohorts and in turn, deliver a robust pipeline of skilled workers that can help organisations across the country meet their net zero commitments.

Skilling for Net Zero report

Learn about the development and delivery of our Green Jobs programme, experiences from the learners, as well as our key learnings and outcomes.

  1. Secure catalytic, up-front investment and support. Launching a new training programme like this requires a significant investment of time and resource before day one.
  2. Build partnerships and collaborate across sectors. Partnerships with organisations across sectors have been fundamental at every stage of the journey.
  3. Be agile - iterate curricula and plans, new programmes cannot stand still as economies and skills needs evolve. Iteration is necessary and will drive better outcomes.
  4. Go beyond the headlines and engage deeply with employers to identify skills gaps.
  5. Invest heavily in and experiment with outreach and promotion.
Cross-sector collaboration is going to be critical to the race to net zero and the green jobs revolution. Partnering with Generation UK is going to be key to meeting growing demand, scaling the Retrofit Advisor programme into new markets, and accessing quality candidates with a passion for the environment.”

Rachel Engel
Head of Macquarie Group Foundation in EMEA

Programme outcomes

The programme has launched a total of six training courses and has supported over 30 graduates in securing life-changing green jobs.3 The first cohort was our pilot programme that would later be scaled upon completion. As of April 2023, 34 learners have been placed in jobs, and 74 per cent of those who graduated from the programme secured employment within six months.3

Successful candidates have secured roles with an average placement salary of approximately £25,000 per year, representing a significant improvement compared to pre-programme income, and has been life-changing for many at a time when the cost of living is increasing.3

The majority of placements secured were through matchmade interviews, with learners being put forward for ring-fenced vacancies at employer partners such as Groundwork UK and Energy Saving Trust. Since launching, close to 30 employers across the UK have pledged more than 50 vacancies for training course learners to attend interviews.3 Employer feedback has been positive, with five employers hiring multiple learners.

It’s clear there is already significant industry demand for Retrofit Advisors, and it’s going to continue to grow. That made the role the clear choice from our diagnostic work: it meets an urgent industry need, whilst also being a really exciting and attractive career option for the people that we seek to serve and support into great jobs.”

Michael Houlihan
Generation UK and Ireland 

A way forward

Macquarie and Generation UK are now actively scaling the Retrofit Advisor programme and continue to work together to develop new programmes targeting skills gaps in the green energy sector and see future potential in the areas of solar and wind. Planning for the 2024 programme is underway. 

  1. Generation UK defines “Green Jobs” as positions that focus on protecting the environment, reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and creating more sustainable ways of living and working. These jobs can span numerous industries and encompass a wide range of roles, from working in environmentally friendly transportation to specialising in renewable energy. Please see the Generation UK website for further details.
  2. In Macquarie, we define green energy as follows: Macquarie defines ‘green energy’ as the generation of electricity or heat from renewable or low-carbon sources - and includes wind, solar, biogas and green hydrogen.
  3. Supplied by Generation UK, 2023.