Net Zero Skills Summit

Virtual Event | 12th October, 9:30 am

Hosted as part of the world's first Net Zero Festival, the inaugural Net Zero Skills Summit will take place this October bringing together top businesses, policymakers, educational organisations, unions, and campaigners to jointly explore how to bridge the skills gap faced by the net zero transition and maximise the job opportunities that will come with a 'green recovery'.

Recent reports suggest the wider green economy is set to create anywhere between a million and 2.2 million green jobs in support of the UK's net zero emissions goal. And yet, there is also credible argument that as the economy decarbonises fully every job will become a net zero job, with everyone's skills having to evolve to deliver low carbon infrastructure and enable sustainable business practices.

Across energy, transport, construction, agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and services, millions of green jobs will be created and millions more roles will be transformed.

Delivered in partnership with National Grid, the digital Net Zero Skills Summit will bring together all the key stakeholders – corporate executives and union representatives, policymakers and campaigners, graduates and apprentices, teachers and recruiters – to discuss how to tackle the net zero skills challenge and seize the huge opportunities offered by a green recovery.

This digital event will feature a series of keynote speeches, panel debates, video documentaries, and interviews, as well as virtual networking opportunities and resources.

Welcome and opening remarks

James Murray, Editor-in-Chief, BusinessGreen

Opening Keynote: Does the net zero transition have a reputation problem?

The UK will need to recruit hundreds of thousands of people into its energy, transport, waste, and infrastructure sectors if it is to meet its target to deliver net zero emissions by 2050. But there is a mis-match as some of the industries at the heart of the net zero transition do not have the same appeal or glamour as other sectors. How do we solve the reputation problem for green infrastructure industries and attract the workforce of the future?

Nicola Shaw, UK Chief Exec, National Grid

Executive Director, UK
National Grid
Keynote: Fit for the future: What does a net zero education system look like?

A leading educational expert explores how the education system and education and skills policy will have to evolve to help bridge the skills gap and drive the net zero transition.

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group

Executive Director
Aldersgate Group
Net Zero Training

The net zero transition will require training, retraining and upskilling for many jobs, but whose role is it to provide this training and what do businesses, academic institutions, NGOs and governmental organisations stand to gain from providing them? This session will look at the skills and policy required from higher education institutions and the role of apprenticeships in training the next generation for a zero carbon economy. 

Jacqueline Hall Head of Policy and Strategy Enginuity
Dr Joanna Thornorough, Policy Adviser (Higher Education and Skills), British Academy
Chair: James Murray, Editor-in-Chief, BusinesGreen

Policy Adviser (Higher Education and Skills)
British Academy
Head of Policy and Strategy
Panel Debate: Promoting the jobs of the future: How to boost the attractiveness of the net zero transition

Join National Grid’s latest recruits as Jack Parsons talks to them about how to solve the reputation challenge faced by net zero industries and hear how they think the green engineering and infrastructure sector can be seen as an attractive career choice. They will discuss the barriers to entry, how companies can overcome the skills challenge, and how to best win their attention.

Maryam Eslami, Network Modeller, National Grid

Navneet Dharni, SCADA & Simulation Engineer, National Grid

Sarah Woolham-Jaffier, Project Supervisor, London Power Tunnels, National Grid

Moderator: Jack Parsons, The Youth Group

The Youth Group
Network Modeller
National Grid
SCADA & Simulation Engineer
National Grid
Project Supervisor, London Power Tunnels
National Grid
Keynote: Are we on the brink of a net zero skills crisis?

The net zero transition will create hundreds of thousands of exciting new jobs, but does the UK have the skills base to fill these roles and how can businesses ensure that recruitment challenges do not act as a brake on their ambitious decarbonisation plans? This opening keynote will explore the scale of the net zero skills challenge, the steps that are being taken to overcome it, and how policymakers, businesses, educational bodies, and individuals can all come together to seize the green job opportunities that will emerge over the coming decade.

Luke Murphy, Head of the Environmental Justice Commission and Associate Director for the Energy, Climate, Housing and Infrastructure TeamIPPR

Head of the Environmental Justice Commission
Networking break

Stream 1

Building the skills SMEs need to thrive in a resilient, net zero economy

This session will explore the implications of the UK’s 2050 net zero goal for SMEs, what level of response is required from SMEs, how some SMEs are already responding, what skills they may need to develop to support their response, and the support that is available to them to build these skills.

Quentin Scott, Marketing Director, Low Carbon

Majda Dabaghi, Director of Inclusive & Green Growth, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)

Eithne George, Programme Director, CISL

Amy Jenkins, Head of Clean Growth at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

Chair: James Murray – Editor in Chief, BusinessGreen

Marketing Director
Low Carbon
Director of Inclusive & Green Growth
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
Programme Director
Deputy Director, Clean Growth, Green Finance and Behaviour Change for Net Zero
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Panel Debate: Tackling the green economy's diversity deficit

Like many industries the green economy has a decidedly mixed record when it comes to diversity. Our panel of experts asks how diversity can be improved across the sector.

Juliet Davenport, CEO, Good Energy

Abbie, Sampson, Director of External Affairs, Energy UK

Sufina Ahmad, Director, John Ellerman Foundation

Michele Farmer, Director - Central England, The Prince’s Trust

Chair: Rodney Williams, Lead Project Manager, National Grid

Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Good Energy
Director of External Affairs
Energy UK
John Ellerman Foundation
Director - Central England
The Prince's Trust
Lead Project Manager
National Grid

Stream 2

Building the winning team for climate action

 In order to initiate the kind of radical transformation climate calls for, individuals from the board level to the shop floor need to actively engage in their company’s climate positioning. This session will outline the gap between employee willingness to act on climate, and their ability to do so in their everyday roles, discussing what organisations can do to bridge this gap and accelerate their climate practices. What engagement practices are needed to engage employees within all parts of the organisation? What are the benefits that this sort of engagement can bring, across innovation, talent attraction, efficiency? What are the lessons and best practices that organisations have put in place to engage and empower employees to take action on climate in their own work and contribute to their company’s climate commitments?

Sophie Lambin, Founder and CEO, Kite Insights
Mike Barry, strategic advisor, speaker, commentator on sustainable business

Senior Associate
Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Founder & CEO
Kite Insights
Workshop: How to recruit and develop a net zero workforce

Leading recruiters and HR executives offer advice on how to attract green talent and build sustainable business skills.

David Hunt, CEO & Founder, Hyperion Search
Tom Hopkinson, CEO & Founder of Taylor Hopkinson

CEO & Founder
Hyperion Search
CEO & Founder
Taylor Hopkinson
In conversation with: Just Transition: Ensuring good jobs on a green planet

We speak to a leading trade unionist about the employment risks that come with the net zero transition and how they can be proactively addressed so as to ensure the promised green jobs boom benefits communities right across the country.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation

13:45- 14:00 Paul Nowak, Deputy General Secretary, TUC

General Secretary
International Trade Union Confederation
Deputy General Secretary
Kristiyan Chovanski
Senior Marketing Executive
+44 (0)20 7484 9907

Victoria Newell
Senior Event Manager
+44 (0)20 7484 9981
Sam Richards
Business Development Manager
+44 (0)20 7484 9711