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Fri May 27 2022

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New training programme offers ‘green’ building skills

12 Nov 21 Scotland’s minister for training has hosted the first hands-on session of a new programme designed to help out-of-work construction workers to gain new skills.

Jamie Hepburn and Sarah Lewis, research and policy director at the UK Passivhaus Trust, look at one of the new training rigs
Jamie Hepburn and Sarah Lewis, research and policy director at the UK Passivhaus Trust, look at one of the new training rigs

Jamie Hepburn visited the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) Innovation Factory to host the first session of the Low Carbon Learning initiative. The programme focuses largely on Passivhaus standards and EnerPHit - the Passivhaus standard for retrofit projects.

The launch was timed to coincide with the Cities, Regions & Built Environment day of COP26.

Low Carbon Learning is Scotland’s first publicly funded training programme in the Passivhaus and EnerPHit approach to the design and construction of highly energy-efficient buildings. The programme is designed to equip construction workers with the skills needed to create a sustainable built environment. The initiative aims to train more than 700 people to help meet the demand for green skills required by the construction sector, particularly for retrofitting existing buildings.

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. It will run until the end of July 2022 and combines face-to-face practical sessions at CSIC’s Innovation Factory with virtual classroom-style learning.

Hepburn said: “The scale of the climate emergency is so great that it is crucial that we all work together in an efficient, organised and co-ordinated way to get the most out of the available resources. Programmes like this reassure me that much good, collaborative work is being done.”

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Passivhaus certified buildings can achieve a reduction of up to 75% in space heating requirements compared to the UK’s typical new-build homes and are proven to reduce carbon consumption, lower energy costs and improve the health and wellbeing of occupiers.

Morrison Construction and other industry partners are developing a Passivhaus system for a steel frame construction and, together with CSIC, will create a specialised training rig to support learners to explore different construction systems.

Caitriona Jordan, head of retrofit programmes at CSIC, said: “New green skills are critical to helping the construction sector and built environment move towards a low carbon future. Reskilling and upskilling is an essential element of that, ensuring the current workforce is able to meet the emerging demand for new processes and standards such as Passivhaus and EnerPHit.

“It is fitting that the first practical session coincides with the built environment day of COP26, and continued momentum around low carbon construction in the period following the climate summit will only underline the importance of developing new sustainable skills.”

Low Carbon Learning is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council through the National Transition Training Fund and builds on the Passivhaus in Practice initiative, delivered by CSIC earlier in 2021.

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