CSIC launches new £450,000 programme to boost green skills drive

The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) has announced the launch of its new £450,000 Low Carbon Learning programme, the UK’s first ever training course designed to equip construction workers with the skills to retrofit buildings for a low carbon future.

CSIC launches new £450,000 programme to boost green skills drive

The programme will upskill and reskill more than 700 people to deliver low energy buildings and will begin at a webinar on September 30 featuring experts from the Passivhaus Trust, Renfrewshire Council, John Gilbert Architects, and CSIC.

Low Carbon Learning is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council through the National Transition Training Fund and builds on the successful Passivhaus in Practice initiative, delivered by CSIC earlier in 2021. The programme will run from now until the end of July 2022.

Face-to-face training will be delivered to 200 people at CSIC’s Innovation Factory near Hamilton on Passivhaus standards1 – a world-renowned approach to the design and construction of new highly energy efficient buildings – with 100 of them going on to become certified practitioners.

In collaboration with industry partners, Morrison Construction is providing a £75,000 steel rig to support the Passivhaus standard training, helping participants to explore different construction systems.

Another 500 participants will have the opportunity to train online with retrofit and the EnerPHit standard, the global benchmark for retrofitting existing properties to Passivhaus guidelines. 200 will be trained in-person and can gain limited accreditation.

The training programme is aimed at construction workers who may be out of work or are facing the prospect of redundancy, supporting them to get back into construction with new skills and knowledge aligned with the future demands of the sector. ‘Skills and workforce’ is one of the areas of focus in the Scottish Construction Industry Recovery Plan.

Caitriona Jordan, future skills manager at CSIC, said: “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. Our Passivhaus in Practice programme was highly successful in helping construction workers develop their knowledge and expertise of the gold standard for energy efficient homes, and this second phase will build on that by bringing in more people and providing the opportunity for participants to learn about EnerPHit as well.

“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.”

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