Liverpool is Enhancing Green Skills to Tackle the Housing Crisis
Liverpool city region residents will train as energy assessors to support a programme to retrofit energy efficiency measures to homes. Housing Industry Leaders spoke to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) about how boosting green skills is key to tackling the housing crisis.

Funding of £15,000 from the LCRCA will see 14 unemployed people trained as energy assessors. On the course designed by Liverpool-based Complete Skills Solutions, they will cover everything from building surveys to producing reports on how energy-efficient a building is.

Improving and renewing skills are essential to ensure that its residents are best placed to realise the full benefit of the investments required to be made in achieving the target of net zero carbon by 2040.

Test and Learn pilots develop new approaches to training young people

The LCRCA is responsible for commissioning a range of skills programmes for residents aged 19+, including a devolved Adult Education Budget.

Housing Industry Leaders spoke to Paul Amann, Principal Officer Employment and Skills at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority about the funding.

He said: “We’ve got the Adult Education Budget devolved to the Combined Authority which allows us to have the freedom to do some different things post-19 education. We’ve put aside 5 per cent of our budget into what we call Test and Learn pilots.”

An example of how Test and Learn pilots are funded via the Budget is the Retrofit Assessor. This is working to promote the innovative delivery to alleviate a market failure, highlight an employer/industry need, or address the learning needs of a particular cohort of learners outside of the mainstream Adult Skills funded provision.

Highlighting this, Paul explained that the pilots are there to try something new: “The Test and Learn pilots offer training providers and colleges the opportunity to try different things in how they deliver their curriculum. We get to see some different outcomes as a result, without necessarily spending extra money.”

It enables us to try out new things with training providers. We evaluate these things, and it helps us to develop new approaches to training young people, and hopefully to improve outcomes.

It was identified by the provider that there is a current shortage of Qualified Retrofit Assessors. Talking about this, Paul explained that with the Green Skills Test and Learns: “We’ve worked closely with colleges and other providers to help them deliver something which is more attuned to the needs of the local labour market and in this instance, we’ve had Retrofit Assessors being in short supply.

“We’ve worked to develop a training programme that fits the needs of local employers and fortunately we got a whole cohort into work, which is fantastic news.”

This is essential as work with local employers has indicated that although commercial training is available to upskill, commercial qualifications alone don’t always provide the learner with the appropriate practical skills such as home site experience.

“The Test and Learn pilots offer training providers and colleges the opportunity to try different things in how they deliver their curriculum.” Paul Amann, Principal Officer Employment and Skills at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Due to rising energy costs, the drive to net zero, and the introduction of multiple energy efficiency programmes, the current lack of Retrofit Assessors is having a big impact on the current housing market. There is a need for more qualified professionals to undertake retrofit work on homes across the UK.

Having the flexibility through the Test and Learn pilots helps LCRCA to boost the skills pipeline to meet challenges facing the housing sector.

Paul revealed why Qualified Retrofit Assessors are important, he said: “You can’t just turn up at a house and for example, put photovoltaic on every property in the city because it might not actually be the right solution. You need an individualised assessment because everyone lives in individual properties.”

LCR Be More platform is helping people understand the labour market

As the UK Government continues to place more focus on energy efficiency, people need to be encouraged to join the retrofit sector. LCRCA is working to support people to get these in-demand jobs and more through the LCR Be More platform.

LCR Be More is the one-stop online solution for someone to kick-start their career and it is part funded by the European Social Fund.

This promotes different sectors of the economy by using local voices, in local places. This includes apprentices, employees, employers, and training providers.

It allows people to explore different career paths and jobs and helps them to understand what might be needed in terms of skills and experience, what jobs are entry-level, and the number of vacancies available.

Giving an example of how the platform can be used, Paul revealed: “For example, a person might want to get into an architect job, but there might be only five of these roles available. However, there might be 500 vacancies available for people who are working on retrofit skills.”

Be More is massively helpful to people and supports them in understanding and navigating the labour market.

By encouraging people into jobs and offering training, Paul highlighted that LCRCA is focusing on reaching its 2040 net zero targets: “One of the interesting things about some of the training that we’re delivering across the city region is that it is not just net zero carbon focused, it is net zero waste focused.

“We are training many people in construction for example, from the outset they’re actually doing waste separation. We train people early on to separate their waste and support the reuse, recycling and reduction of materials as well as residual waste.”

Offering training and support like LCRCA is will help to improve the skills of local people to fill future demand in areas and through the development of green skills, it will play an important role in the transitioning to a low-carbon economy.