£1m scheme launched to train 700 retrofitters across West of England

Dan Norris

A £1m scheme to train up and upskill more than 700 retrofitters funded is being rolled out across the West of England.

The scheme is part of an ambitious £7m programme to deliver home improvements and better energy efficiency across the West of England.

The number of retrofit workers in the West needs to increase 20-fold to bring the 250,000 regional homes needed up to standard.

In total, 720 “recruits” will take part in the free training over the year to become certified retrofit installers and upskill existing tradespeople to tackle retrofit work – getting a mix of hands on and online training at courses run by retrofit specialists Retrofit West CIC, Bath College, YTKO, the Green Register and Future Leap.

An additional 5,000 locals will be engaged by these organisations on areas such as materials, high-tech and others – thanks to a £1m investment from the Mayoral Combined Authority.

Once in their roles, the newly qualified 700-plus retrofitters will be tasked with upgrading the UK’s cold and draughty homes in the region – whether that be insulating walls, installing new doors and windows, or introducing heat pumps.

Dan Norris, West of England Mayor, said: “The climate crisis is the single biggest challenge our region, and humanity, faces. It’s here. It’s now. And we urgently need the skills to face it head on.

“That means training up an army of workers to retrofit our homes. That’s a huge win, win, win – cheaper energy bills, lower emissions and good quality jobs for local people.

“But to do that, we need urgent action to ramp up training, which is why the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority is stepping in through this £1m investment to skill up the region’s workforce which in turn will scale up delivery of retrofit projects, and drive down costs for firms.

“Because we’ve got to get on with upgrading Britain’s draughty homes, and deliver the change people want to see. It just goes to show what I’ve always said – the West of England is leading the way as the best place to shape the green jobs revolution.”

Meanwhile, the cash will also be invested to boost retrofit supply chains by linking up firms working in the sector including through launching a West of England-specific retrofit website for organisations to interact and work together – increasing productivity in the West’s retrofit industry.

Simon Andrews, managing director of Retrofit West CIC which is coordinating the programme, added: “We are thrilled to be leading this training thanks to this funding from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority.

“It allows us to significantly expand our reach and impact, enabling us to support and empower even more workers to accelerate the retrofit sector.”