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Scotland’s Skills Transition: Constructing A Low Carbon Future

In the run up to COP26, Scotland launches a programme to teach construction workers how to build green.

The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has announced the launch of its new £450,000 Low Carbon Learning programme. This will be the UK’s first course to train construction workers on how to retrofit buildings to produce less carbon.

With support from the Scottish Government, the programme will upskill and reskill more than 700 people. Training will take place at CSIC’s Innovation Factory based on “Passivhaus standards1.” This is a highly regarded approach to the design and construction of highly energy-efficient buildings. The aim is to deliver 100 certified practitioners. Another 500 participants will be able to train online with retrofit and the EnerPHit standard. This is the accepted global benchmark for retrofitting existing properties. 

Sustainable Skills

The training programme is targeting construction workers who are out of work or facing redundancy. The hope is new skills aligned to future environmental demands will benefit both workers and the construction industry as a whole. “Skills will be an absolutely critical part of helping the construction sector – and the UK and Scottish economies, more generally – move towards a net zero future,” CSIC Skills Manager, Caitriona Jordan explained to Scottish Construction Now. “More people in the sector with knowledge of, and the skills necessary to deliver these types of buildings will help energy efficiency become more mainstream. It will also help ensure we have a workforce fit for the future and could help create new jobs in the construction supply chain, while addressing societal issues such as fuel poverty.”

David Pierpoint, chief executive of The Retrofit Academy, added: “Low Carbon Learning is a great step in providing much-needed low carbon retrofit skills in the construction sector. The built environment is responsible for a significant amount of the UK and Scotland’s carbon emissions, with the vast majority of the buildings that will exist in the decades to come already built. There is a huge opportunity to train our existing workforce with new skills, and bring much-needed new talent into the sector, which will help contribute to the challenge of decarbonising our existing stock and address skills gaps.”

Building Better

The CSIC announcement has come just weeks ahead of COP26. The United Nations climate crisis summit is due to take place in Glasgow in November. Significantly, COP26 will address carbon emissions from buildings for the first time on a day dedicated to the built environment. The Cities, Regions & Built Environment Day will involve “advancing action in the places we live, from communities, through to cities and regions”. The day is being organised by a coalition of international organisations. These include the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Speaking to Dezeen, Roland Hunziker, director of the WBSCD, said, ”Quite honestly, today, nobody really pays a lot of attention to the full impact of emissions from buildings. And so that needs to change.”

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