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A new boost for green jobs, growth and sustainability

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Boosting green employment in the Spanish construction industry

Guided by the EU target of decarbonising Europe's housing stock by 2050, Construye 2020_Plus developed training solutions to support a sustainable construction industry in Spain, creating attractive employment prospects and opening up the marketplace.

Climate Change and Environment
Society

Reducing the construction industry’s CO2 emissions will require structural changes to the sector, including the development of new techniques, new materials and new skills. This is an opportunity as much as a challenge, as it will create employment and market opportunities, while benefiting the environment. To help embrace the opportunities in Spain, the EU-funded Construye 2020_Plus (A new boost for green jobs, growth and sustainability) project has been developing formal and informal training for green construction methods. “Our cross-cutting approach has engaged experts to share different perspectives and collaborative solutions, linking areas of construction that might not otherwise work together. This has helped raise public awareness of sustainable buildings – crucial to developing a market for them,” explains project coordinator Esther Rodriguez from the Construction Labour Foundation. The project created a qualification for energy auditors – which aligns with the EU’s implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive, two energy efficiency courses and a proposal for a green skills recognition system. It has also updated existing courses.

The training and accreditation

Construye 2020_Plus adopted the quintuple helix innovation model to engage key stakeholders from academia, business, government, civil society and environmental interest groups, for the sharing of knowledge, expertise and opportunities. Some 70 experts within Spain identified key construction industry challenges, proposing a training road map to implement 30 solutions for energy efficiency, renewable energy sources and nearly zero-energy buildings (NZEBs). The vocational and educational training developed by Construye2020_Plus included two courses to be piloted in 2021: energy efficiency for operators and energy efficiency for middle managers. Both are short cross-cutting courses giving each profession more knowledge of the other. Additionally, the project updated several courses under the umbrella of the BUILD UP Skills initiative including those for laws and regulations, materials and construction solutions and the NZEB approach. Taking advantage of recent digitalisation advances in the construction industry, Construye 2020_Plus also introduced a lean construction and building information modelling (BIM) methodology into their training. “As efforts to digitalise construction workflows are not yet widespread in Spain, we only introduced these concepts,” adds Rodriguez. “The objective is not to deliver full training in a specific trade, but to familiarise tradespeople with the range of sustainable construction techniques available.” To develop the energy auditor qualification, the team followed the methodology established by the Spanish National Institute of Qualifications (INCUAL, a project partner). After official approval it will be published as part of the National Catalogue and adopted by the Ministries of Education and Employment. A proposal is also under development for a green skills recognition system called Green tag. Green tag will certify learning outcomes from the energy efficiency courses for both operators and middle managers and from at least one of the six updated courses from the BUILD UP Skills range.

Shifting mindsets

The project has already participated in two BUILD UP Exchange events, with results also promoted within European training networks such as REFORME and CPD. The team are now organising 15 regional events to promote the benefits of energy efficiency in buildings, supported by a virtual platform hosting content such as interviews, good practices and training. “We want to achieve a generational shift so that green construction jobs become more attractive to youngsters, while helping to create market demand for sustainable construction,” says Rodriguez. Longer term, the team intends to adapt their approach to other related sectors, such as the wood and metal industries, as well as to other countries.

Keywords

Construye2020_Plus, construction, skills, training, green, innovation, energy efficiency, buildings, digitalisation, sustainable, Spain

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