About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

How to increase the appeal of green skills and training

The fight against climate change is creating new opportunities for well paid, rewarding work. Nesta and BIT’s research has shown that green jobs are highly desirable among workers and that employers are desperate to create more of them, but that there still aren’t enough of them. One of the biggest barriers to this is the development of the green skills needed to do green jobs. There is evidence of widespread skills shortages in the green economy, but limited evidence on how to promote green skills.

This research aims to tackle that, by testing different interventions to make green training more attractive to people.

What's in the report?

This report summarises an online experiment, using BIT’s Predictiv platform, which tests how different interventions affect people’s interest in taking green training courses. We took a sample of 8,000 people – half of them in or recently graduated from education, half of them current employees – and asked them whether they’d be interested in taking a green training course in different scenarios.

As part of this, we first tested four different framings that could encourage people to take green training: a pride framing; a dynamic framing; a social impact framing; and a basic description as a control. We found that these framings had no discernible effects on people’s willingness to take green training.

We then tested four different financial incentives: a loan; a subsidy; a grant; and a control where the participant had to pay the full cost upfront. All of the framings tested – the loan, grant and subsidy had a significant effect and made people far more likely to take green training.

We also gathered a range of other information from participants, including how attractive certain jobs were to them and their reaction to different interventions.


The key finding is that providing financial support for green training - whether in the form of a grant, subsidy or a loan - makes green training significantly more attractive to people. As a result, we recommend that government and employers should consider offering financial incentives to people taking green training courses, and should test different interventions - including loans and direct payments - to identify the best value for money option.

We also found that providing better green careers and job-matching advice would help green jobs to grow, and that training providers should offer a flexible range of options for training, including online and in-person.

The report was written by Ed Whincup, Shoshana Davidson, Reny Kiryakova, Jordan Whitwell-Mak