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Upskilling towards a sustainable future - briefing note

This briefing note makes the case for companies to develop new skills for a sustainable economy in order to become the transformational leaders of the future
Key findings
  • Moving to a low carbon economy will require upskilling much of the workforce
  • Drivers include the government Green Deal
  • Leadership skills relating to sustainability are lacking
  • Skills shortages exist in core science, techology and engineering subjects, general skills such as communication, and skills specific to transitioning to a low carbon economy

We all aspire to a future which is positive, enriching, healthy and prosperous – not just for ourselves but for generations to come. Our instincts and the available evidence suggest that, in order to achieve this, we need to strike the right balance between what we take out of our planet’s “life support system” and what we put back.

Amongst other things, this will require an economic model in which natural capital is properly valued alongside financial capital, where the concept of waste is anathema, where successful and socially acceptable enterprises are ones which embed sustainability throughout their thinking. This is a positive future with massive opportunities along the way.

Achieving this will require the application of existing skills and expertise in new areas, and the development of entirely new skill sets for some people. It will also require real leadership and the application of leadership skills to achieve a sustainable economy.

The following subjects are examined in this note:

  • the need for upskilling

  • the business drivers for action in this area

  • the role of innovation and entrepreneurs

  • the skills gap and

  • the sectors in the greatest need of upskilling