To meet the UK’s net zero ambitions, 2 million people will need to be trained in new skills by 20301 across a wide range of sectors and professions, including wind, solar, insulation, upgrading the grid and many more. Generation UK and Macquarie have worked together to prioritise finding a solution to this, whilst ensuring access to those career opportunities are made widely available, targeting people currently unemployed, supporting levelling up and improving social mobility.
Last September, Generation UK, a charity with a mission to support people facing barriers to employment into life-changing careers, and Macquarie announced an exciting partnership to develop a new training programme in the green sector.
Together, Generation UK and Macquarie saw the opportunity to meet the challenges of unemployment and rising demand for green jobs in tandem, by providing unemployed people with train-and-place pathways equipping them to thrive in jobs fundamental to the green transition.
Following an extensive diagnostic process that analysed career pathways in the green sector and employer demand, along with drawing upon expertise from across Macquarie and its Green Investment Group, a surge in demand for retrofitting was identified and new curriculum was developed for a Retrofit Advisor bootcamp. The first pilot programme was launched in London in November 2022 as the first green sector programme of its kind in the UK.
To date 49 learners have enrolled in the Retrofit Advisor bootcamps across 3 pilot cohorts, with the aim of reaching 100 learners within a total of 5 cohorts by March 2023. Of the first graduated cohort 80 per cent have now been placed into life-changing roles with average salaries of £24K.
The course helped build my confidence massively. To enter a new industry at my age was something I thought would be extremely challenging, however, the Retrofit Advisor course at Generation made it all possible. I would encourage anyone wanting to join to just do it, the amount of knowledge you gain and skills you develop are invaluable during the transition into employment.”
The training programme is supporting learners facing barriers to employment into life changing careers. Over 89 per cent of learners were unemployed when joining the cohort and the bootcamps lead to guaranteed interviews and matchmaking with leading employers in the green sector, a booming industry with strong starting salaries and an excellent career trajectory.
The programme has supported a diverse learner demographic with 50 per cent women, 67 per cent ethnic minority, 20 per cent with a disability, 46 per cent with dependants and 33 per cent with English as an additional language.
Qasim was part of the first cohort of learners and graduated in February 2022 and is now employed as an Energy & Innovation Technical Advisor with Equans. Beforehand, Qasim was self-employed in property management but lost many clients due to the pandemic and therefore he was looking for new opportunities and was interested in learning more about the ‘hot topic’ of energy usage.
Training enough people with the right skills is going to be a huge part of our journey to net-zero. And the sheer size of the job creation that has already started also represents a huge opportunity to improve social mobility, by widening access to these great jobs in a rapidly growing sector like Retrofit. We are very grateful for Macquarie’s vision, leadership, and support for pioneering initiatives like the Retrofit skilling programmes that we collaboratively launched together and has since attracted a lot of attention and now government support. By the end of the year that programme will have supported 70 people already, and we will now scale to help thousands more in the years to come.”
CEO Generation UK & Ireland
Since launching the programme, Generation UK has seen huge demand from employers looking to hire graduates, including Agility Eco, EON, Leeds City Council, Q-bot, Retrofit Works and many more.
One employer, Equans, hired a Technical Energy Advisor from the Retrofit Advisor Bootcamp and stated that “Our Generation graduate has already completed training in just 4 months on being with us. They are already surveying properties and we will look to develop their skills further and promote when the time right.”
Another employer, Q-Bot, hired a Retrofit Advisor and said: “Generation provided candidates that surpassed our expectations, they had great knowledge of the industry and were well prepared to jump straight into work with us.”
The programme is on track to support over 70 learners this year with plans for significant growth across the UK - supporting 150 learners in 2023 and with expansion into Ireland.
Chris Read, Associate Director, Macquarie, Green Investment Group, said: “It has been a privilege to work with the Generation team this year who are working extremely hard to deliver positive job outcomes for people who might otherwise be left behind as the UK strives towards its net zero ambitions. The programme has already delivered some shining examples where learners have landed job outcomes in a growing industry that will contribute to the clean energy transition. Supporting Generation on this journey is aligned to the GIG mission and showcases our view that everyone can contribute to and benefit from the clean energy transition. GIG is proud to be part of this programme and are looking forward to helping Generation scale up the programme to deliver more positive social impacts for many more people.”
Recruitment is now open for the next London cohort which will start in October.