NEWS / Blog / #NAW2023: Can apprenticeships build our green skills pipeline?


07 FEB 2023


Lara Potter, chair of ACE’s People group on the steps needed to truly unlock the potential for apprenticeships in our industry.

National Apprenticeship Week is once again upon us providing an opportune moment to explore how we are supporting and promoting this vital route into our industry through the work of ACE and its People advocacy group.

Championing discussions around skills and people more broadly, our People group helps to shape ACE’s interactions with policymakers on this issue which goes to the very core of any discussions on the future of our industry.

Apprenticeships – as you’ll no doubt be aware – are one of the most vital routes into our industry, allowing our businesses to positively recruit or, retrain and upskill existing staff. Ensuring they remain relevant in a world changing before our eyes is, in my view, the fundamental challenge facing the industry.

This is why we are calling for a review of the current apprenticeship levy to strengthen the green skills that will be needed by our industry to meet society’s demands on climate. We need to make sure that the apprenticeship levy, which is paid by employers in England, is used to develop skills in green technology and low carbon industries.

To further boost our green skills pipeline, we want to scope the potential for a Climate Change Apprenticeship programme to enable companies and the wider industry to develop the skills needed during the green transition and beyond.

Building on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s recent Climate Change and Environmental Skills Action Plan – we are pushing for further opportunities for young people access high-skill and rewarding training for careers in tackling climate change. We’ll be working with the Institute to explore how we can better signpost occupations, apprenticeships and technical qualifications that contribute to meeting our environmental and climate change goals.

These recommendations sit alongside other proposals to push for an increase in local provision with training courses and apprenticeships part of this mix. We are engaging with relevant government departments on the reversal of the decline in spending per head on Further and Higher Education, both for skills and maintenance, to give the education sector the resources it needs to upskill the sector. This is particularly important for the “left behind” places where we want to see skills growth as a key performance measure for Levelling Up investment.

More immediately, ACE will continue to champion apprenticeships as a viable and attractive option for young people looking for technical skills and highly rewarding careers. The activity on ACE’s website around National Apprenticeship Week, including our inspirational case studies, are just one way we have done that this year.

In the rush to improve, we should not forget what makes apprenticeships work. Giving employees the option to “earn whilst you learn” while giving employers the essential workplace skills they need, they are unique and extremely attractive. ACE will continue to champion the route into our industry, while working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are fit for the Net Zero world we are moving into.

Lara Potter (Arcadis) is chair of ACE’s People advocacy group.

Explore more National Apprenticeship Week content on the ACE website and on our social media channels. #NAW2023 takes place 6 to 12 February.

Lara Potter

Lara Potter

Director, Workforce for the Future

Lara is a Director at Arcadis and chair of Future Skills at ACE.