£6 million skills programme introduced to help meet Scotland’s net-zero housing goals

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A new £6 million skills programme has been put in place to help train the next generation of housing professionals to meet Scotland’s net-zero goals.

More than 2,000 people in south-east Scotland should benefit from the first wave of skills and career support from the new Housing, Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway. The programme will offer training in the installation of renewable energy in homes, how to fit EV charging points and more environmental technologies for the home.

The programme is supported by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, as well as being funded by the Scottish Government. The HCI Skills Gateway will offer multi-level support to schools, new entrants to the sector and provide further skills and knowledge to the existing workforce.

According to forecasts by Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, there will be a construction skills supply shortage of more than 3,500 in the south east of Scotland in the next few years. To combat this, the HCI Skills Gateway aims to fill the gap and support inclusive growth for people across the region. The programme will be delivered by the region’s universities and colleges.

There will be more waves of HCI support announced later in the year for offsite construction and advanced skills.

According to Professor Sean Smith, who is leading the programme at Edinburgh Napier University, a key opportunity will be to “enable the region’s low carbon ambitions, embedding new technologies and clean-tech approaches for future homes and buildings.”

“This is the start of a step-change in support across the region to enable and support our future workforce and net-zero ambitions,” he added.

“This inclusive growth support will provide an attractive route into future job opportunities and career pathways and we are particularly keen to support unemployed entering this sector, attracting more women into construction and engineering and supporting existing employees with new skills.”

CEO of Fife Council, Steve Grimmond, who chairs the City Region Deal’s integrated regional employability and skills board, said: “The HCI project demonstrates the regional reach for both urban and rural areas of this City Region Deal.

‘This is one of seven flagship projects to support inclusive communities and regional growth and it is positive, given our sustainable development ambitions, that so many of these work-ready courses are aligned to our future low carbon infrastructure.”

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