How is Greater Manchester Tackling the Green Skills Gap?
Greater Manchester has launched new training courses in retrofitting domestic properties with modern, energy-efficient, and low-carbon technology as part of the Skills for Growth programme. Housing Industry Leaders looks at how this can help to tackle the green skills gap.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded funding to the Growth Company to support those working in the green economy with new skills.

Funded through the European Social Fund as part of GMCA’s three-year Skills for Growth programme, the training programme has been created in partnership with employers who have highlighted skills gaps they are struggling to fill.

How will upskilling current workforces help to meet sustainability targets?

Housing Industry Leaders spoke to Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital about the training programme.

Manchester is aiming to become a zero carbon city by 2038 at the latest, 12 years ahead of the UK Government’s target of 2050. Eamonn began by explaining that GMCA’s mission is to help make Greater Manchester a green place where everyone can thrive.

He said: “Training and upskilling Greater Manchester’s workforce in retrofitting is the first key step in moving towards a cleaner, greener, and low carbon city region.”

Over the coming years, 880,000 homes in our city region will require upgrading with energy efficient measures and this is going to need to be carried out on a mass scale by a skilled workforce.

Those on the course will be taught the basic principles of domestic retrofit as well as skills in improving the energy efficiency measures of older buildings. The training has been designed to support people to take the next step in their careers, whilst helping to meet these sustainability targets.

Eamonn continued to explain that in order to meet these targets, Greater Manchester must focus on upskilling its current workforce: “Greater Manchester’s Construction workforce is around 85,000-strong – but only a fraction are qualified to work with low-carbon technology on retrofit projects.

“Skills for Growth supports with the city region’s plan to achieve carbon neutral status, and through retrofitting our housing stock, residents will also be supported with keeping costs down through the installing of cost-effective energy saving methods in their homes.”

Applicants do not need to have previous retrofitting experience

The course is just one part of GMCA’s approach to developing retrofit skills within the construction sector sitting alongside Skills Bootcamps in the Green and Construction industry that support people to retrain and reskills in retrofitting skills where no previous experience or qualifications are necessary.

Applicants for the one-week-long Domestic Retrofit course do not need to be working in the retrofitting industry, however, some basic construction knowledge and experience would be beneficial. The course is available to employed people who live or work in Greater Manchester.

After completing the course, participants will achieve a Level 3 Award in Energy Efficiency Measures for Older and Traditional Buildings.