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New skills are needed to help UK meet EU 2020 targets on energy use

Research calls for new skills and training for the built environment workforce to help the UK meet its European energy efficiency targets by 2020.

The Build Up Skills ‘Analysis of the National Status Quo’ report says more consistency in energy efficiency policy between the different UK nations is needed. It also calls for better awareness among industry and consumers.

The study was carried out for the Build Up Skills UK project, an alliance of four sector skills councils (SSCs); Asset Skills, SummitSkills, CITB-ConstructionSkills and Energy & Utility Skills.
Keith Marshall OBE (pictured), Chief Executive of SummitSkills, said: “To a certain extent these are encouraging findings. Increasing awareness of environmental technologies and training providers primed to step up and supply the required training. It’s already obvious that what’s needed now is a strong drive forward, a clear direction and incentives for employers to take action. Our next steps will be to get out and about to talk about this research, seek out the views of businesses and training providers on how to address the issues it raises and put together a plan of action; a skills roadmap.”

Sarah Bentley, Chief Executive of Asset Skills, added: “There is a clear lack of knowledge and confidence among employers about the green agenda and how it will affect their workforce. Industry and consumers need to be made more aware, while new specialist training needs to be developed in different areas of energy efficiency.”

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive of CITB-ConstructionSkills, stated: “As the UK makes the transition towards becoming a low carbon economy, the need to invest in skills for the built environment sector becomes more and more pressing. This research has highlighted that in the construction sector alone, more than 161,000 skilled workers will be needed to enable to the UK to hit its 2020 carbon reduction targets. Through measures such as our ‘Cut the Carbon’ in construction campaign, we are committed to working with industry, the Government and our SSC partners to put in place the skilled workforce that will be needed to drive the UK towards its low carbon future.”

Rob Moore, Operations Manager Low Carbon, at Energy & Utility Skills, said: “We are delighted to be part of this research, which clearly demonstrates the Government’s commitment towards green policies and gives us a clear picture of where we are now. Through the collaborative work of the sectors involved in the Build Up Skills project and this report, we will develop a coherent plan to bring us closer to the ambitious targets the UK has committed to.”

Through the Build Up Skills project, the four SSCs are undertaking a programme of research and other work to ensure that the built environment workforce has the skills necessary for the UK to meet its 2020 carbon emission reduction targets.

The built environment accounts for nearly 47% of CO2 emissions. This research calls for long term government commitment to energy policy and funding for energy efficiency training to help raise knowledge and skills among the blue collar workforce such as plumbers, electricians and construction workers.

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