The Just Transition Research Project, led by the Energy Democracy Project (EDP), will identify and engage with people working in high-carbon industries threatened by the transition to a zero-carbon economy.

The project will consult widely and highlight both the skills and practical barriers preventing these specific workers and professions from moving into ‘green’ and low-carbon sectors. It will report in June 2023 with policy proposals for a more inclusive transition in our region.

The project aligns with the three cross-cutting priorities of the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA): Net Zero Transition, Inclusive Economy and Innovation in Recovery. In particular, the project aims to complement the work already being done by the NTCA in relation to the Zero Carbon, Zero Poverty agenda and build upon citizen-led engagement on climate change in the region, such as the Climate Change Citizens’ Assembly.

Our work will look at:

  • What individuals need to transition to low-carbon or green jobs and what barriers exist, such as appropriate training.
  • Improving economic inclusion to make sure under-represented groups are meaningfully considered in the transition away from high-carbon jobs.

Method

Our qualitative research methods will include a focus on under-represented groups. This will help draw out detail needed to make meaningful policy proposals. There are four main stages to the research:

  • Stakeholder interviews in spring 2022, including local communities, trade unions and businesses. This will uncover key challenges and opportunities facing different groups in transitioning to a low-carbon economy.
  • A quantitative survey to run throughout the summer of 2022, to be completed by workers employed in all ‘high-carbon’ sectors. This will create a snapshot of what local people know of the issues of economic transition and how it relates to them, such as potential changes to employment, and training opportunities.
  • Second round of in-depth stakeholder interviews with both workers and employers, to be completed by autumn 2022. This will examine the similarities and differences in understanding and approaches taken, to dealing with the low-carbon transition.
  • Community workshops in autumn 2022. These will focus on the perspectives of young people, as workers of the future, and workers currently employed in high-carbon sectors. This stage will build on previous findings to create a space where participants can lead discussions themselves and begin to identify recommendations for policymakers.

We will also complete a local skills audit. This will look at the number of workers who are currently reliant on the high-carbon economy, what the skills of these workers are, examine what skills are required for a low-carbon economy, as well as identify low-carbon skills shortages and opportunities in the region.

Energy Democracy Project

The Energy Democracy Project (EDP) was set up in 2003 to support educational and research activities around climate change. It has focused on building support for energy democracy and a just transition in the UK since 2014.

EDP focuses on engaging and consulting trade unions, unionised and non-unionised workers in building visions and pathways for a just and rapid climate transition.

Staff at EDP have worked in partnership with organisations like Platform London, the Trades Union Congress, Fuel Poverty Action, Transition Economics and worked in academic roles in the geography and planning departments at Newcastle University and Cardiff University.

If you would like further information about the Just Transition Research Project or would like to get involved, please contact: helen.coulson@northoftyne-ca.gov.uk