From education to employment

More support necessary for Greater London to fill green electrical apprentice shortfall

green hand holding a plant

New labour market research shows that the Greater London Region has “a mountain to climb” if it is to meet current net zero ambitions and resolve the current green electrical skills gap.

The electrical sector is vital to the safe and timely rollout of low-carbon installations and infrastructure, such as electric vehicle chargers and solar panels, that will help decarbonise the grid and enable greater use of renewable energy.

The findings indicated that Greater London’s electrical contractors have lower levels of green skills capability on average than contractors in the rest of the UK, including in EV chargers, heat pumps, smart buildings and solar PV.

Andrew Eldred, ECA Director of Workforce and Public Affairs, said:

“Despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s recent review of green policies, the UK remains committed and legally bound to its target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Electricians and the contractors who employ them are essential for the transition to net zero, but our research confirms vast differences in the size and sustainability of the electrical workforce from one region to the next. At present, Greater London languishes at or near the bottom of almost every measure.”

The research, sponsored by ECA and the Joint Industry Board (JIB), on behalf of The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP), shows that the Greater London Region already has one of the smallest number of electricians per head of population in the UK. More ominously for future sustainability, Greater London also has one of the worst electrical apprentice recruitment rates in England, and the lowest percentage of young people (18-24) in the electrical workforce. By contrast, enrolments onto college electrical courses in London are booming.

Andrew Eldred added:

“College learners on electrical courses in Greater London outnumber local apprentice starts by an astonishing 800%. Typically, fewer than 10% of these learners manage to progress into an apprenticeship after college, however. This is a terrible waste, and we urgently need London local authorities, education providers and employers to work together much more effectively to support far more learners into rewarding and worthwhile green electrical careers.”

ECA is currently running a series of in-person Roadshow events around the country, demonstrating the value of green skills and the business opportunities available to contractors who embrace the shift to net zero.  Learn more about ECA Member-businesses using green skills to deliver Net Zero at  

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