Retrofit Skills Bootcamp launches to help GM achieve carbon neutral target

Retrofitting in action

More than 200 unemployed people, or those changing careers, will receive training in retrofitting skills to support Greater Manchester in reaching its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

The Skills Bootcamp for Retrofit, part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee and Plan for Jobs, is a flexible course of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast track to an interview with a local employer.

The programme will be delivered by the Low Carbon Academy, in partnership with Procure Plus, with the aim to create pathways into the retrofit industry for hundreds of people. The scheme will train people on how to transform the city region’s homes and buildings, to ensure they are fit for a low carbon future.

Training and upskilling workers is the first step towards achieving Greater Manchester’s ambition to become carbon neutrality by 2038, which is 12 years ahead of the national target.

It’s estimated that 62,000 homes will require retrofitting annually to meet this goal, and the training has been designed to help achieve this and support a sustainable economy as the city region recovers from the pandemic.

The scheme has been made possible through £500,000 funding from the Department for Education and will work alongside the previously announced ESF Skills for Growth delivery by Low Carbon Academy, which launched earlier this year to upskill thousands of individuals to retrofit buildings across Greater Manchester as part of a longer term plan.

Cllr Andrew Western, GMCA lead for digital, work, skills and clean air, said: “If we are to achieve our goal of a cleaner, greener and carbon-neutral Greater Manchester by 2038 it is vital we have a workforce that has the skills to future-proof our homes and businesses. Retrofitting will be taking place on a mass scale and we need skilled workers to be able to make this a reality.

“We want everybody to have the opportunity to take on these roles and this programme will create routes to the industry for unemployed people, or those who are looking to make a career change. Each individual will be provided with a range of different pathways, tailored to their interests, as well as what is required from employers.”

Samuel Riley, chief executive at North West Skills Academy, said: “The Skills Bootcamp for Retrofit is exactly what is needed to bring new entrants into the sector, either from being unemployed or career changers. Our Low Carbon Academy, in partnership with Procure Plus, combines expert training with local community and real employers with live retrofit projects in Greater Manchester.

“Also, by us leading on The Retrofit Skills Hub, it provides a seamless progression route for course completers to continue their journey into a career in the growing retrofit market.”

Those taking part in the training will receive practical skills in insulation, access to accredited pathways in energy efficiency and insulation as well as training for retrofit specific roles. Each individual will receive a pick and mix of different pathways, based on their interests as well as requirements from employers.

Kate Parker, senior regeneration manager at Procure Plus, said: “The retrofit sector in Greater Manchester is booming right now, and with the need to make buildings more energy efficient the number of jobs in the sector is set to continue to rise.

“Procure Plus wants to ensure local communities feel the benefit of these opportunities by offering good quality accessible training to give people the skills needed to meet employers’ needs.

“This win-win approach means local contractors have the skilled workforce they need to continue to deliver work across the region, and local people have the skills they need to get the best start in a new and exciting career. We are thrilled to be working alongside NWSA to see this happen across GM.”

The project also links to existing construction and retrofit job vacancies, while all candidates will be offered a guaranteed interview. The project is due to be completed by March 2022.

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