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Setting up Qualification and Continuing Education and Training Scheme for Middle and Senior Level Professionals on Energy Efficiency and Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ingREeS (Setting up Qualification and Continuing Education and Training Scheme for Middle and Senior Level Professionals on Energy Efficiency and Use of Renewable Energy Sources in Buildings)

Reporting period: 2016-09-01 to 2018-02-28

In 2012 and 2013, Slovakia and the Czech Republic participated in the Build Up Skills Pillar I project managed by EACI (now EASME) to analyse a status quo in the level of competencies available in the sector of buildings, future needs and obstacles for improvement and investments in the skills and knowledge of human resource in the sector of buildings. Although the Pillar I project was aimed at craftsmen and on-site workers in the sector of buildings, Slovak and Czech teams used this opportunity to address also several middle and senior level professionals, as the needs in this area are of same urgency and need to be addressed should the objectives in the energy efficiency of buildings and in the use of renewable energy sources be delivered. Moreover, taking into account the specific situation in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, not addressing the needs in middle and senior level professions in the sector of buildings would undermine the effectiveness of achieving the expected impact of the action focused on craftsmen and on-site workers.

In a nutshell…

The project set up national qualification and further training schemes in Slovakia and the Czech Republic for middle and senior level construction professionals on energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in buildings.
Particularly the project led to:
• Development of 16 training modules that are building blocks of 5 education and training programmes;
• Setting up permanent network of trainers delivering the training programmes developed under the project;
• Training of trainers for delivery of the programmes;
• Creating a database of the offered training and awarded certificates to trainees;
• Proposal for policy and financial measures to be implemented to facilitate adequate demand response for intelligent energy solutions that would motivate middle and senior level professionals in participating to training programmes, boosting demand for highly qualified professionals and SMEs to invest into continuing education.
The project established necessary resources and prepared technical, organizational and financial conditions for training and re-training middle and senior level construction professionals on energy efficiency and use of renewables of in buildings during the project and beyond its expiry, as all partners will continue in further delivering the training and continuously improve and develop the further training schemes that were set up (as their open and modular structure supports continuous improvement and development).
The project succeeded to deliver training to over 900 middle and senior level professionals (the project target was to train 700 professionals) during the project lifetime, while the scheme continues deliver training to further professionals since 1 March 2018 (i.e. beyond the project expiry).

How the training is done…

The training is delivered through in-class training combined with distance learning delivered using ICT, such as e-learning, on-line conferencing, video on demand and special sessions and workshops with practical demonstrations.
The learning outcomes are assessed using on-line testing, while the participants can prepare for the assessment using the simulated tests available for each module.
The training in the Czech Republic is a credited training by the Czech Chamber of Chartered Engineers and Technicians. In Slovakia, Slovak Chamber of Civil Engineers (SKSI) works with the competent authorities to include the competences in the energy performance of buildings in the requirements for the mandatory certification of civil engineers for regulated professions. The topic of energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in buildings will be embedded in the university curricula and SKSI will help universities to embrace this agenda and where practicable and feasible, SKSI will provide access to the e-learning and testing system.

What hurdles had to be overcome…

In Slovakia, the main hurdle was missing culture of continuing education and training among civil engineers. SKSI had to promote the need in having good understanding of the energy performance subject in the sector of building for delivering quality and the targeted performance in the buildings (renovated existing buildings or new buildings that have to comply with nZEB standard).
In the Czech Republic, the culture of continuing education and training was already developing, and the local Construction Academy organises weekly one or more training sessions on the topics relevant to the civil engineers. Here, however, the training on energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources was missing and the project perfectly fit the necessary training into the training offer and success of the project was almost inevitable.

…and this we are most proud of, while…

The project also triggered cooperation among stakeholders to tackle the efforts needed for achieving the EU 2020 Energy Targets. For example, the Association of Construction Entrepreneurs of Slovakia (ZSPS) presented the benefits of the multi-factor public procurement to procure construction of new building and energy renovation of existing buildings not only by price, but also quality, environmental impact, including energy performance. The conference organised by ZSPS triggered wide attention from private and public sectors and ZSPS will continue in the efforts to promote “value for money” in the construction sector. (Comment: In Slovakia, unlike in other countries and at EU level, the public procurement is solely based on lowest price. Although “green procurement” is allowed by the law, it does not provide legal certainty for organisations/institutions procuring works and services and for the result of the particular procurement process.)
The partners in Slovakia also reviewed implementation of the Roadmap established in 2013. It was concluded that implementation of the Roadmap progressed substantially and all measures due to this day were implemented with exemption of one - legislative requirements on quality of the works and services and related level of qualification of the construction professionals. This, however, was not resolved in many EU member countries.
Total primary energy saved by the end of the project is 32,46 GWh/year
Expected share of RES in the buildings realized by professionals with improved skills is about 40%, based on results of Green Investment scheme in the Czech Republic. Thus, at least 12.98 GWh/year energy from RES was triggered by the core activities of the project.

The main impacts of the project fall into two categories:

• Enabling policy – the project enabled the necessary framework (regulatory and financial) by delivering proposals that were discussed and endorsed by stakeholders and relevant ministries of the governments aimed at removing governance and financial barriers and supporting implementation of sustainable energy policies and national and local level.
• Building capacities and competencies (skills and knowledge) of the key market actors in improving energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix of buildings. This is to be achieved mainly by improved competences of 1045 middle and senior level construction professionals, but also by facilitated knowledge transfer and sharing of best practice between the key market players, academia and employers.