Recent research estimates that more than 46,000 people and £150 billion are needed in the southeast of the UK to create homes that fulfill government climate targets. A grant of £53 million was returned to the government earlier this year due to a lack of experienced craftsmen. Colleges are currently revising their courses to include more energy efficiency and retrofit capabilities. The government is assisting in the training of thousands of qualified installers, according to the business and energy minister. The Greater South East Net Zero Hub, which collaborates with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) from Hampshire to Norfolk and Kent to Northamptonshire, has received funds of £78 million. This year’s project lasted from March through September. However, it was only able to fund 1,750 of the 7,500 homes in its region that needed energy efficiency improvements, such as solar panels, heat pumps, and insulation. Unused funds were given back to the federal government.

The hub’s manager, Maxine Narburgh, described the financing as “incredibly disappointing” because of the lack of installers. She also mentioned a significant skills gap, including the overlap of their projects with others run by the councils. Solar panels, low-carbon heating systems, and energy efficiency improvements must be installed in 29 million UK households by 2050, Narburgh explains. The Energy Systems Catapult estimates that 46,500 full-time workers will be required to upgrade 10 million houses in the greater South East to net zero. A recently released study adds that the total workforce educated in retrofitting has to be at least 100,000 and up to 200,000 at peak times because employees will not always work full-time on new installations.