City Corporation taskforce to cut carbon in commercial buildings

The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce met today (4 July) for the first time to define and address skills gaps in the built environment sector.

Chaired by City of London Corporation Policy Chairman, Chris Hayward, the event  brought together 15 senior industry leaders and 72 sustainability experts.

Speakers included Minister for London, Paul Scully, and Chief Executive of the City Property Association, Charles Begley.

The City Corporation launched this three-year initiative in response to skills gaps in the construction, retrofit and maintenance of low-carbon commercial buildings in Central London boroughs, which emerged from recent research.

91% of respondents in a poll of over 100 industry professionals said the commercial built environment sector lacks sufficient skilled workers to achieve net zero targets.

The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce commissioned Work Advance to conduct a rapid evidence analysis to inform its work, which revealed:

  1. The demand for ‘green jobs’ is already growing and is forecast to expand strongly in the years ahead.
  2. There is a need to replace those leaving the workforce.
  3. Recruitment difficulties and skills shortages are already widespread.
  4. There are gaps in green skills training provision.
  5. Rapid scaling up of the number of learners enrolled in courses delivering green skills is needed.
  6. Wider structural barriers, such as the perception of the built environment sector among young people and lack of diversity, could inhibit progress towards net zero.

As well as developing an evidence base and creative solutions, the taskforce will deliver an industry engagement campaign to upskill the current workforce and attract new candidates, in particular from groups who are under-represented in the sector.

The taskforce is currently recruiting built environment and sustainability experts for its working groups. Applications can be submitted on the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline website.

Policy Chairman at the City Corporation and Chairman of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce, Chris Hayward, said:

“We want to safeguard London’s reputation as a world-leading built environment centre, and that can only be achieved through the transition to net zero.

“In the capital, construction and maintenance of our existing buildings accounts accounting for around 40% of our carbon footprint.

“The skills gap and labour shortage are threats to our net zero ambitions. The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce will seek to address this urgent challenge.

“We must place the environment at the heart of our labour market and our labour market at the heart of our environment.”

Chief Executive of the City Property Association and Deputy Chairman of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce, Charles Begley, said:

“The built environment must work collaboratively to futureproof our workforce as well as addressing arguably the biggest barrier to delivery – the chronic shortage of skills in the sector, particularly around sustainability and green skills. 

“This is a significant project involving over 100 organisations, including employers, training providers, national and local government. Working collaboratively, we can and must bring about change.”

Minister for London, Paul Scully MP, said:

“Improving buildings’ energy efficiency has an important part to play in reducing bills and further boosting the UK’s energy security. That’s why the government is investing £6.6 billion in the lifetime of this parliament to improve the energy efficiency of homes and buildings across the country.

“The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce will help deliver more high-skill, high-wage jobs for London while creating a more environmentally sustainable future for our great city.”

The Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce supports the aims of the City Corporation’s Climate Action Strategy.


Notes to Editors:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The definition of ‘Central London’ is those areas represented on the Central London Forward strategic sub-regional partnership – Camden, the City of London, Hackney, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth, Westminster, Haringey and Lewisham.