Making the skills links for Environmental Technology

There has been a fair bit of media interest in the Environmental Technology sector over the past couple of weeks, particularly from the BBC and Radio WM. This was stimulated by our recent Review of Skills in Environmental Technologies (pdf, 476kb).

In the main, the interest has concentrated around how the sector has faired better than wider manufacturing through the recession, and the huge potential for future growth – for example in renewable energy and recycling.

This is good news for the West Midlands, as the industry has the potential to create jobs for Midlanders long in to the future.

But, to capitalise on the sector’s potential, our research (pdf, 476kb) shows that businesses need to be able to access the right people with the right skills; in some cases, very specific skills that are up to date with the latest technology.

We found that Environmental Technology companies are finding it difficult to find people with the right skills, and the report (pdf, 476kb) makes some recommendations on how to overcome the barriers.

Continue reading

Building a low carbon country

Ed Miliband MP

Ed Miliband MP

The transition to a low-carbon economy will be one of the defining issues of the 21st century. This plan sets out a route-map for the UK’s transition from here to 2020.

Ed Miliband MP, 15 July 2009

Ed Miliband, Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change, yesterday launched  a national strategy for climate and energy.

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan is the government’s plan for how the UK will meet the cut in emissions set out in the budget of 34% on 1990 levels by 2020.

The government has placed transforming the country into a cleaner, greener and more prosperous place at the heart of its new economic plans. This document is their way of ensuring that the UK is ready to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

Continue reading

Impact of the recession on environmental technologies sector

Wiring cables on building course at Stourbridge CollegeThe Observatory’s skills team is working on a skills review of the environmental technologies sector (such as renewable energy, pollution monitoring and waste management) on behalf of the Learning & Skills Council, Advantage West Midlands and local authorities in the West Midlands.

While we expect to publish in summer 2009, we can report now on emerging findings from our online survey (PDF, 295KB) relating to the impact of the recession for environmental technology firms.
Continue reading

Wind resources for the West Midlands

Cover of wind resources studyA new study has been published reviewing the economically viable wind resource across the West Midlands region and key wind development constraints based on the current status of wind technology.

The study assists in the initial screening of coarse areas with potential for wind development in the region and consisted of a desktop assessment based on the updated GIS Mapping Tool initially designed for Government Office West Midlands.

As with the heat mapping work referred to in my earlier post, the full report and supporting GIS datasets can be obtained through the Observatory’s research enquiries service.

Continue reading

Heat mapping and decentralised energy report

The recent Energy White Paper asked Regional Development Agencies to identify opportunities as to how they could bring forward decentralised energy projects.

In response to this and on-​going low carbon futures work, Advantage West Midlands commissioned work on heat mapping and decentralised energy and sought early feedback and buy in to the approach from key external stakeholders at a workshop in June 2008.

The West Midlands currently imports around 60% of its heat energy and an even greater percentage of its electricity. Considering the overarching role of Advantage West Midlands as an enabler of sustainable economic development in the region, the agency seeks to reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuels and improve energy security. Continue reading