Green Skills Summit Follow-up Report


The Green Skills Summit brought together green businesses and educational institutions from across Surrey and North-Mid Hampshire to explore how the green skills needs of local residents can best be met, including key actions required. Participants heard from a range of speakers on national and regional green skills needs, including the launch of a new research report into the current and future number of green jobs in the county. Key points are highlighted in the notes and presentation below, as well as links and contacts for existing green skills initiatives which are already proposed or underway. 

National context for green skills 

Michael Cross (author The Green Edge and Director, Blue Mirror Insights) outlined that there is currently a significant structural shift underway in the economy towards green jobs, that this represents a significant economic opportunity, that local coordination of the skills system to power these green jobs is vital and that there is scope for LSIPs to influence national net zero skills policy. See slides 2-3 of the presentation.

Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for Surrey and North-Mid Hampshire 

Louise Punter (Surrey Chambers of Commerce) outlined that they were developing a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for Surrey and North-Mid Hampshire. This is part of a central government programme of LSIPs, which puts employers at the heart of the skills system and will be the strategic basis for future funding decisions. The event today is part of ongoing engagement with businesses in the development of the LSIP. See slides 5-7 of the presentation for more information, and Surrey Chambers’ Future Skills Hub 

Strategic Development Fund (SDF) 

Jamie Mackay (Project Director, and Enterprise M3 Skills Strategy Manager) outlined how £2.6m of central government funding through the Strategic Development Fund had been spent across green landbased, low carbon vehicles and retrofit skills provision across Surrey and North-Mid Hampshire. The objective of the fund was to stimulate employer engagement, build capacity within colleges, and upgrade facilities, equipment and course content. See slides 8-11 of the presentation for more information.

Green skills demand in Surrey and North-Mid Hampshire

Joe Ahern (WPI Economics) presented an overview of their green skills demand research for the LSIP area. Headlines:

  • There are 35,000 green jobs currently, or 3.8% of total employees – this is 23% higher than the UK as whole
  • Top green occupations: Environment Professionals; Sales Accounts and Business Development Managers; Production Managers and Directors in Manufacturing; Physical Scientists; Refuse and Salvage Occupations
  • Top green sectors: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair; Power; Climate Adaptation; Homes and Buildings; Green Financial, Professional and Research Services; Industrial Decarbonisation; Low Carbon Transport; Natural Environment
  • The number of green jobs will rise from 35,000 in 2022 to 57,000 in 2030 and 108,000 in 2050 – this represents a growth rate of the LSIP area’s green economy of 6% to 2030 (1.5 times higher than the growth of digital from 2009-2019)

See slides 12-18 of the presentation, and the full report here.

Panel discussion 

Marisa Heath – Cabinet Member for Environment, Surrey County Council; Joe Ahern – Head of Policy Consulting, WPI Economics; Carolyn Jay – Community and Place Manager, Ringway; Virginia Barrett – Principal, Farnborough College of Technology

The panel discussed the importance of:

  • Employers engaging with colleges to increase progression rates into relevant roles and sectors linked to their college study (eg electricians, where transition rates are as low as 10%). There was recognition that this can be challenging for smaller businesses and that there might be a role for industry bodies and others in facilitating this.
  • Improving collaboration between further education (colleges) and HE (universities) so that students consider local universities, but also recognising that university students are likely to be more mobile when choosing where to study compared to those choosing apprenticeships.
  • Exploring how university students can be encouraged to stay where they studied after completing their degrees. Including through improving the ways opportunities and jobs are promoted to young people to make them aware of what is available in the area
  • Exploring the ways employers can contribute to the delivery of skills training, for example Ringway signposting those later in their careers into becoming trainers with local providers


Green jobs and skills 

  • Surrey Green Skills Panel: Surrey County Council is convening a panel of green businesses in the county to act as a source of intelligence on green skills, provide insights into our green skills plan, support the delivery of the green skills plan and champion green skills across the county. The Green Skills Panel will:
    • Meet quarterly, likely for ~90 mins (likely mainly via Teams) to provide formal input on key topics, likely with ad hoc input between
    • Be most suitable for those with insights into green skills needs across priority businesses of waste management (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair), Power, Homes and Buildings, Climate Adaptation, Green Financial, Professional and Research Services, Industrial Decarbonisation and Low Carbon Transport

Please contact if you would like to be involved or for more information.

  • A series of FREE online green skills courses have been created as part of the Strategic Development Fund project outlined at the event. These are available through the Innovation South Virtual Campus (ISVC) learning platform here. The courses are designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or prior knowledge, and include these topics:
    • Carbon LiteracyIntroduction to Domestic RetrofittingIntroduction to Retrofit TechnologiesIntroduction to Sustainable Resource ManagementRainwater and Greywater Harvesting
    • Tree Planting and Climate Change
  • Surrey Retrofit Summit: supporting the scaling of the retrofit sector to reduce the 50% of Surrey’s emissions from buildings. Will include insights from a retrofit supply chain report and a significant focus on skill. Date: mornings of 13-15th June. Event will be hosted entirely online. Event information and booking available here
  • Horley jobs fair, Wednesday 28th June 2023, 10.30am – 1.30pm
    • Opportunities for employers, skills training providers and local organisations who have live vacancies/opportunities or can provide hands on training or support during the fair. This could include jobs, paid work experience or volunteering vacancies, the opportunity for direct applications at the fair, advice on skills requirements, skills demonstrations, free workshops and seminars and much more.

Green business support 

Looking beyond skills and careers the council, and other partners, have an increasing focus on stimulating the green economy in Surrey, including through: 

  • Support for green businesses available both through the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub and the Council’s own Net Zero 360 training. Surrey Chambers of Commerce has a summary here
  • Guildford Sustainable Business Network aims to cut through the confusion that small & medium sized businesses (SMEs) face in trying to be more sustainable. Working with our partners we’re trying to make it as easy as possible for any SME to create a carbon management plan. Benefits: cost savings on many aspects of your operations, attract & retain the highest calibre of employees, gain new business, be a preferred net zero supplier in B2B value chains, and be prepared for law changes on carbon reporting click here
  • Green tech/innovation: Surrey County Council is exploring the potential for green tech and innovation in supporting our climate change and economic development ambitions. This includes both the development of new products and services, and scaling existing solutions. Please contact Luke McCarthy if you are interested in finding out more or being involved.
  • Supply chain development: Surrey County Council is exploring the role we might have in bringing together large and small businesses within key sectors to increase sustainability within supply chains. Likely priority sectors to include. Please contact Luke McCarthy if you are interested in finding out more or being involved.