Is it a plumber? Is it a heat pump installer? It's...

 As the UK sets upon a greener economic path than ever before – we hope – it’s clearer than ever that we’re going to need the skills to back up the big talk. If nothing else, this was pulled into sharp focus by our heat pump trial last year.

The job market is bearing this out, too. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development admitted recently that it’s still hard to find a job ion the consumer industries or the public sector – these areas are still struggling to bounce back – but they were also quick to point out that more practical professions, like manufacturing, are having a bit of a boom time on the sly.

So if you’ve ever felt more suited to machines than to your mouse, now might be the ideal time to get training.

If you’re a woman reading this, you probably don’t even need this blog to inspire you; we hear the sisters are doing it for themselves when it comes to signing up to learn a trade and get their hands dirty.

Or perhaps, to ‘green up’ more than just their fingers?

A Guardian piece on this great skills explosion cites Ruth Brough, currently studying to be a plumber and renewables installer. She thinks she may just have discovered a market niche where she can work in the practical way she enjoys, and help people to live the greener lifestyle she believes in.

Beyond having ideals – which we fully support here in the blog team – there’s a very practical background to this trend. Feed-in Tariffs, the Renewable Heat Incentive, and the Green Deal, as well as the current boom in large-scale renewables in Scotland powering homes and whiskey makers alike, all point to a rise in opportunity.

And there’s also a rise in genuine need. If the green economy is going to deliver the new technologies to help us cut carbon emissions and lower our fuel bills, the public needs to know it’s skilled and well-trained and can deliver what it says, safely. What we need are a new breed of green suprheroes.

Back to the Guardian for more:

Plumbers and electricians are now having to get to grips with green technologies and more stringent health and safety regulations, says the chief executive of New Career Skills, Steven Wines — an evolution that may be attracting more women as the perception of traditional trades changes from blue collar to “green collar”.

Of course we’re not saying men can’t go green – see above – but educators are saying that female new recruits to college courses across the UK are a credit to these previously male roles: more focused, methodical, calmer and better at drawing – all undeniably valuable skills in the often complex sustainability sector. To say nothing of the superhero one.

So let’s make sure that glass ceiling doesn’t come with a green tint.