This was the challenge outlined by Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Sector Skills Council for construction, as he launched the new ‘Cut the Carbon’ campaign today in Westminster. A partnership between CITB-ConstructionSkills, the National Specialist Contractors’ Council (NSCC) and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the campaign will directly support SMEs – helping them understand what the new carbon legislation will mean for them and equipping them with a tangible mix of knowledge and skills to respond to increased client demand.
Farrar and his partner CEOs, Suzannah Nichol, NSCC and Richard Diment, FMB, are all agreed on the need for the campaign partnership; “In its forthcoming Energy Security and Green Economy Bill, the Government will outline measures through the ‘Green Deal’ to create almost 250,000 jobs, by improving the energy efficiency of the UK's building stock”, explains Diment. “Research reveals that a large and growing number of clients want SMEs to be able to propose carbon reduction solutions, and deliver them. At a time when many small businesses across the UK are battling with the impact of the recession, the prospect of new work in the construction sector couldn't come at a better time."
“That’s where the campaign partnership comes in,” added Nichol. “We’re working together to help businesses get the right skills in the right place at the right time. Being carbon ready will really help SMEs carve out a future for themselves.”
Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Small businesses have lots to gain from a shift to a low carbon economy as not only does energy saving help the bottom line, but the opportunities for growth are huge. The coalition government is putting in place the Green Deal to help them seize those opportunities. ‘Cut the Carbon’ will provide advice and practical help in what more small businesses need to do to prepare for a greener future.”
The Cut the Carbon Partnership was joined by Dr Paul Toyne, Chair of the Strategic Forum for Construction’s carbon group in highlighting the growing influence that low carbon skills are having on client procurement decisions.
Dr Paul Toyne commented: “This campaign is the practical next step that industry needs. The demand for low carbon construction is set to grow, driven by Government legislation and targets such as the Green Deal in England, the Energy Efficiency Action Plan in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly Government’s Green Jobs Strategy. By focusing specifically on knowledge and skills, the Cut the Carbon Partnership is helping the construction industry, and SME contractors in particular, to be ready to respond. The size and scale of the opportunity on offer should not be underestimated.”
The recent survey commissioned by the Cut the Carbon Partnership has revealed that low carbon skills are having a real influence on clients’ procurement requirements. The findings not only suggested that there are significant business opportunities for carbon-conscious SME contractors, but also that businesses which are slow to acquire low carbon knowledge and skills, may find it much harder to win work in the coming years.