“Green skills cannot exist without the Black trades”..

This is quote from our friend and champion of skills training in South Wales, Chris O’Callaghan. And he is absolutely right.

“Black trades” encompass various skilled trades that involve physical labour and craftsmanship – remember that term ‘CRAFT’ ? We certainly don’t seem to hear it enough these days.

These trades involve hands-on essential engineering tasks, for example welding, pipe fitting etc.

Sadly, there’s been a decline in these essential skills and engineering apprenticeships have been dramatically reduced in the UK since the 1990s because;

1.          Shift towards academic education: There has been a societal push towards academic education over vocational training, leading fewer individuals to pursue apprenticeships in engineering and other skilled trades.

2.          Economic changes: Changes in the economy, such as the decline of traditional industries and the rise of the service sector, have influenced the demand for engineering apprenticeships.

3.          Employer investment: Some employers have reduced their investment in apprenticeship programs due to cost considerations or a focus on short-term profitability.

4.          Perception of apprenticeships: Apprenticeships have often been viewed as a secondary option compared to traditional academic routes, leading to a decrease in their popularity among young people.

Without a doubt, it’s widely accepted that there is a UK shortage of skilled labour. Our existing process industries are already struggling to find qualified, experienced and competent people, so how on earth will we cope with the incoming ‘greener’ industries?

These key trades are set to be some of energy transitions most prized skills so its critical that we start taking this with the seriousness it deserves as it can have huge consequences.

On and offshore wind turbines, floating substructures, hydrogen electrolysers, carbon capture and its storage facilities – all will form the bedrock of the UK’s energy transition for the next 30 years. People have to fabricate and correctly install these structures and central to this are the ‘black’ trades.

So Chris is right – BLACK is the new GREEN

Our alliance with the The Skills Academy at Port Talbot, South Wales will help ensure that we have a workforce that can support the existing process industries in the region and also transition into the incoming greener industries – all of which cannot be built and operated without the mechanical engineering skills and competencies of the black trades.

Please reach out to us – We’re more than happy to discuss further our collaboration, vision and ongoing training and competency programme for the region;

Zulu Joint Integrity & Training Ltd (Centre of Excellence)
Tel: 01656 523273

The Skills Academy
Tel: 01639 898166

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