The climate emergency and Government’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is an economic imperative. This is a necessary pathway, but I think we should focus on the short term. For example, we don’t currently have the labour force or skills base for the new opportunities that will come with our transition to a net zero economy.
How can we gear up our young people – and in fact people of all ages and backgrounds – for these new opportunities? Are there parts of our existing workforce we can retrain quickly? How can we ensure workforces in impacted sectors are well placed to take advantage of opportunities in zero carbon growth sectors? These are questions we are asking ourselves right now.
By taking these incremental steps, we will be better equipped to respond to the new jobs, business opportunities, technologies, innovations and types of services that will come through decarbonisation of transport, energy and the built environment. My work as Professor of Professional Practice at Westminster University is helping to bridge the gap between education and the real world. This means teaching and research reflecting what industry needs, and also making sure that industry understands how the university works and how it can best contribute.
My ultimate goal is to enable people to improve their lives. We still have serious inequality across the UK, with too many people still excluded from the mainstream, socially and economically. Working closely with both public and private sector clients, we are doing our best to find solutions to address this. As economists, we are the entity in the middle of the public and private dimension, bringing them together and making the case for how everyone will benefit. It's about getting money into the right projects, for the right reasons. Through all my work at WSP, it makes me immensely proud for our name to be up there and well known for economics as well as engineering.
Creating conditions for thriving communities.
Net Zero: Can we have winners without losers?
Integration and collaboration are key to freeport economic success.