Green jobs created as Leeds council continues net-zero approach in build up to COP26

Dozens of green jobs have been created in Leeds as part of the council’s latest net-zero scheme.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 4:45 am
The investment comes as part of Leeds City Council’s continued commitment to low carbon upgrades as the UK prepares to play host to the COP26 climate conference. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Twenty-six skilled jobs have been created locally in a key green industry as a result of Leeds City Council’s investment in low carbon upgrades earlier this year.

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Energy and water services company Cenergist has recruited thirteen full-time employees and moved thirteen existing staff to a newly opened office in South Leeds to work on two major council decarbonisation programmes.

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Leeds City Council are determined to ensure that the city leads the way in becoming carbon neutral. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Images.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Coun James Lewis, who recently visited the company’s new Beeston offices said:

“As I prepare to attend COP26 in Glasgow, I am proud to represent a city and council already doing so much to become carbon neutral.

"Taking bold steps to cut our emissions is not only the best thing we can do to protect ourselves and others from a changing climate but it is also the best strategy for Leeds to prosper from the economic opportunities of a greener world."

Labourers, project managers, quantity surveyors and tenant liaison officers have all been hired by the company to help ensure the successful installation of low carbon heat pumps in multi-storey council housing, leisure centres, schools and homes for elderly people.

Heat pumps use electricity to provide greener, cleaner and more reliable hot water. They are expected to become much more common and cheaper to install as the UK gradually replaces fossil-fuel powered boilers with low carbon heating.

Around half of Leeds’ carbon emissions are estimated to come from the energy used to power and heat our homes and commercial buildings.

The new roles will contribute towards West Yorkshire's target for businesses to create 1000 skilled jobs in the green economy. This comes as part of the Government's ambitious plan to more than quadruple the number of adults employed in skilled green jobs by 2030.

Alex Brown, Operations Director at Cenergist said: "We are utilising local trades and merchants to create further jobs and apprenticeships wherever possible in the city. In addition, we envisage the creation of further labouring jobs which will be pro-actively promoted to the local community.

"We ensure that all suppliers and subcontractors pay at least the real living wage for their staff. The opening of our office demonstrates our commitment to working with Leeds City Council to support it in delivering its ambitious decarbonisation plans for the city."

In a recent report, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) reported that a lack of awareness of the need for transitional skills and jobs is one of the barriers that must be addressed to ensure that the UK labour market is ready to deliver net zero. Among its recommendations included the promotion of ‘green’ career pathways in schools and colleges.

To address this locally, while building on the global focus on climate change over the next few weeks, Leeds City Council has partnered with Ahead Partnership to host a COP26 Regional Roadshow event aimed at increasing young people’s awareness of the wide range of green career pathways that contribute to net zero.

Stephanie Burras CBE, chief executive of Ahead Partnership, a social enterprise that works with businesses of different sizes and sectors to design and deliver social value projects that create positive change within society, said: “It’s vital that young people are engaged with what the ‘green’ agenda has to offer for future careers – not only to benefit the businesses and industries that need skilled talent to make the change and support vital climate efforts, but also to enthuse and thoroughly educate the workforce of the future about the rewarding opportunities that are readily available to them."

The event will give 30 secondary school pupils the opportunity to speak to and question local workers in jobs that contribute towards decarbonisation.

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