UWTSD’s Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) and Coleg Sir Gar are collaborating with industry partners to deliver emerging skills and training initiatives to support the UK and Welsh governments’ commitment to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
A portfolio of programmes is being delivered by CWIC and Coleg Sir Gar, funded by the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Account, to ensure the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions to make sure the right skills are in place to meet current and future industry demand.
Universities will form a key part of the national recovery effort, helping to upskill and reskill the workforce for a post-Covid economy. During the Covid-19 crisis, the University has been using its expertise, experience, and resources to support the local response, whilst maintaining its provision to address skills gaps and to develop the skills of current businesses and attract new investment into the region.
Five new courses are being delivered by CWIC in partnership with the Retrofit Academy, Stroma Certification and Edwards Hart Consultants, to enable businesses and their employees to deliver the energy efficiency retrofit of existing buildings to meet carbon-cutting targets.
Gareth Wyn Evans, Head of the Construction Wales Innovation Centre said: “The Net Zero emissions target is an opportunity for us to drive change within the industry. Working collaboratively with Coleg Sir Gar and our partners within the sector, we have identified skills shortages and launched a range of Retrofit training programmes. These programmes will give employers direct access to courses and qualifications delivered by industry experts to meet the targets set by the UK and Welsh governments. This enables us to play our part in ensuring Welsh industry is ‘Retrofit Ready’.
“CWIC’s Net Zero Skills Strategy is underpinned by a large amount of research and extensive industry engagement relating to the continued drive for modernisation and decarbonisation within the sector. Welsh industry has a significant challenge in working towards Net Zero and CWIC’s work shows how we and our partners are uniquely placed to drive forward the industry, tackle the challenge head on while continuing to future-proof construction skills.”
Retrofit is a whole house, pragmatic, approach to decarbonising existing homes. It is a sophisticated and bespoke process that considers the fabric or materials homes are made from; the way we heat and store energy in our homes and the way energy is supplied to our homes. Upgrades can include heat pumps, intelligent energy systems and solar panels.
The UK Green Building Council estimates that up to 95% of emissions from the built environment over the next 30 years could come from the buildings that exist today. Most of the effort to decarbonise must therefore be focused on the energy efficiency retrofit of existing buildings. At least some retrofit work will be required on around 1.4 million residential and up to 100,000 non-residential buildings to reduce emissions over the next 30 years. Even with new ways of working, they have identified an urgent and pressing need to recruit, train and in some cases retrain large numbers of people to do the work.
David Pierpoint, Director, Retrofit Academy said: “The Retrofit Academy has pioneered the training of Retrofit Coordinators in support of the nationwide roll-out of the PAS 2035 Standard for Energy Efficiency. However, to date only 4% of qualified and accredited Coordinators are based in Wales. This collaboration with CWIC gives us the opportunity to rapidly increase this number to provide Welsh social landlords and householders access to people who can help make them realise their vision of having a healthy, warm and low carbon home.”
CWIC has been at the forefront of developing and delivering emerging skills and training initiatives in construction since its inception in September 2016.
An innovative pan-Wales enterprise led by the UWTSD Group which includes Coleg Sir Gar and Coleg Ceredigion and involves Coleg y Cymoedd, Coleg Cambria and The BRE Academy provides an integrated career development pathway between operatives, trades, and professional construction occupations, under guidance provided by the Swansea-based Hub.
They actively work together and share best practices. This is contributing to new levels of collaborative working between the education sector (schools, FE, HE, and private providers) and the construction industry.
CITB Wales’ Partnerships Director Mark Bodger said: “Welsh construction is playing a leading role in supporting Britain’s post-Covid economic recovery. More construction firms remain operational in Wales than elsewhere in Britain, and more Welsh companies are seeing an increase in their work too.
“Training in retrofit will support the industry and help employers to attract and retain talent to meet the ambitious targets for construction in Wales. This initiative will make entering the industry easier for new starters, helping to develop their skills to ensure they can enjoy a rewarding career in construction.”
The courses are funded by the Welsh Government’s Personal Learning Account initiative, managed by Coleg Sir Gar, and can be applied for on an individual basis or through a company application.