Green skills and the housing sector – a vision for the future by Wyn Prichard
Having been around the skills agenda, for over 20 years, through working with the Training and Enterprise Councils, Construction Industry Training Board, and currently with the NPTC Group of Colleges, opportunities come, but not many fully realise their true potential.
We now have another chance, to challenge the status quo and do things just a little bit differently, learning, from the past to deliver for the future, a Wales focused solution, that others follow and replicate. The announcement by Julie James, Minister for Housing and Local Government, in relation to reducing housing’s carbon footprint, presents this appointment, to develop an innovative skills programme.
Green skills to me, defines as the knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource efficient society.
As the Chair of the Supply Chain Sustainability School in Wales, I see great work building the sustainability skills and knowledge of the construction supply chain in Wales. We must make sure that we keep the improvement in this area over the next few years and not let sustainability slip down the order of priorities.
Sustainability – if it is anything, is about reducing waste and improving efficiency and these two are areas that the wide construction industry will need to focus on over the coming years. The School works hard to highlight how delivering projects, in line with the Well-being of Future Generations Act, can help the industry to become more efficient at the same time as contributing to the overall prosperity and well-being of Wales.
But we must look to the future, and look to new areas, such as modern methods of construction, green/sustainability skills and offsite, embedding these new skills required, to take advantage of the coming changes in construction build and techniques. We cannot afford to be left behind or worse undertake this work poorly.
The skills that need to evolve, from apprenticeship to higher level, have not been developed, to meet a sustainable employment level, and here is the opportunity, through clients, industry, and Colleges to create this pathway. We can look at green skills, in a very similar way to Heritage, and using the training, to educate from school and through work-based skills, as units of learning, across all built environment qualifications, embedding that knowledge and understanding.
This will allow there to be a wider understanding of modern methods of construction, and how each element relates to individual roles, at design and build phases. To achieve this, we must not focus internally, but look worldwide for best practice and how these fit to Wales. We at NPTC Group of Colleges, see this as key to create this skills programme, through wider ranging partnerships, as no one organisation, and together, we will create World Class skills and low carbon homes, that will lead the agenda on green skills.