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Our green skills working group met recently for their second gathering. The main item on the agenda was our new Retrofit Workforce Roadmap, which sets out the scale of the challenge to grow the workforce in the next five years, explaining our informed view about what needs to change, by when and why. As well as considering how the roadmap can unite the industry and enable everyone to contribute, members explored the areas where we can have the most impact and influence.  

Before the workforce roadmap was discussed, the working group focused on an area-based approach to securing the future of green skills for net zero delivery. The area-based approach endorsed by government is similarly backed by industry due to benefits including addressing regional skills gaps, supporting local job creation, building public trust through local council partnerships, increasing awareness of green careers and the eventual improvements to local housing, fuel poverty and public health.  

However, an area-based approach is not rolled out without its challenges. For the retrofit industry, one of the key challenges is based on the longevity of engagement with local areas. Lots of projects are relatively short, and often shorter than a traineeship or apprenticeship. This means it’s important to offer longevity where possible, increasing visibility of the collaboration between the public sector, private sector and communities, as well as providing the required amount of time to invest in building local green skills. Despite this challenge, the working group members shared their ideas and potential solutions, raising some valuable suggestions to be implemented in the future.  

Leading a race to the top  

An open consultation is set to begin soon on our Retrofit Workforce Roadmap that we’re working on in conjunction with The Retrofit Academy, to help gather the thoughts of the wider industry before establishing a programme for change by Autumn 2024. Though it is not yet fully developed and will likely be tweaked year-on-year to account for industry updates and policy changes, our members and experts on green skills have already contributed their own ideas on what the roadmap may contain.  

One of the main objectives must be leading a race to the top, to ensure that we remain focused on the quality of training. Beyond this, different tactics to reach our desired outcomes include:  

  • An information and advice campaign to challenge misinformation and link retrofit careers with wider benefits including being part of the net zero journey  
  • Understanding how to unlock and effectively utilise funding from CITB, iFATE DfE, DESNZ and the Local Skills Improvement Fund 
  • Creating a central hub that makes it easy to navigate and best use all available funding for retrofit skills training in one place  
  • Overcoming language barriers that exist within the UK workforce  
  • Integrating retrofit into all existing industry courses  
  • Creating clear pathways from apprenticeships into a secure retrofit career  
  • Ensuring there are opportunities and infrastructure in place to create more high-quality, accredited trainers  
  • Aligning ‘back to work’ funding with retrofit roles, recognising the sector’s potential for rapid job creation 
  • Establishing National Occupational Standards for retrofit roles  

With an open industry consultation set to begin soon and our members generating new ideas each and every day through their industry experiences, the Retrofit Workforce Roadmap is only a concept for now. But the implementation plan will come next and we need the industry and all retrofit stakeholders on board to create an ambitious 400,000 retrofit jobs by 2035, so watch out for further updates.  

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