The large contribution expected from the building sector to the European 2020 energy objectives and the transition to a low carbon economy is a major challenge to the construction industry, which needs to deliver renovations offering a high energy performance and new Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings. To meet these objectives, major efforts are needed to improve the skills of building workers. From a governance perspective, this requires the involvement of stakeholders and public authorities across several policy domains (energy, employment, education and training).
In this context, the BUILD UP Skills initiative is currently carried out under the framework of the Intelligent Energy Europe (IEE) programme to join forces and to increase the number of qualified workers in the building workforce in Europe.
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BUILD UP Skills focus
BUILD UP Skills focuses on the continuing education and training of craftsmen and other on-site workers in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings. It has three components:
- National qualification platforms and roadmaps to 2020 (Pillar I)
The aim of this first phase of projects (2011-2013) was to trigger national processes to gather all relevant stakeholders in a country to develop a strategy and roadmap, to identify and quantify needs and priority measures. The objective for these national projects was to complete an analysis of the state of play compiled in a national status quo report. On the basis of the needs and barriers identified, projects had to develop a roadmap of priority measures to be taken by 2020.
- Qualification and training schemes (Pillar II)
This second phase of BUILD UP Skills (2013-2017) aims to support the introduction of new (or the upgrade of existing) qualification schemes for on-site building workers. These should be based on the BUILD UP Skills roadmaps developed in the first phase. Ten projects had started by October 2013. More projects are expected to start at the beginning of 2014.
- Europe-wide support activities
The objective is to support the exchange of best practices through meetings of all participating BUILD UP Skills projects. Five meetings took place between November 2011 and November 2013.
BUILD UP Skills is one of the instruments of the 2011 EU Energy Efficiency Plan and of the 2012 Communication Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises.
A successful mobilisation
With 30 national BUILD UP Skills projects (EU28, Norway and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) engaged in cross-sector mobilisation for qualifying the building workforce, BUILD UP Skills has engaged more than 1 800 organisations across Europe.
Initial results: more than 3 million workers require training in Europe
BUILD UP Skills projects have developed new data on the issue of training the building workforce. According to the conclusions of BUILD UP Skills projects, more than 3 million workers require up-skilling on energy efficiency or renewable energy sources by 2020. The main barriers to the qualification and training of building workers have also been identified:
- Administrative, legal and policy-related barriers (lack of policy coordination, rapidly evolving regulations);
- Market barriers (lack of market incentive as demand for energy performance in buildings remains too low);
- Economic and financial barriers (lack of funds for training especially for SMEs, uncertainties on results of training, high employee turnover discouraging long-term training);
- Education and training barriers (education and training offer not always adapted to workforce need, under-developed training infrastructures and materials, lack of interdisciplinary cross-trade training); and
- Cultural and linguistic barriers (in particular in the context of foreign building workers as limited language skills often prevents them from accessing training courses).
Learn more on the BUILD UP Skills results.
From strategy to action
The second phase of the initiative on qualification and training schemes has just started. Ten BUILD UP Skills Pillar II projects started in November 2013 and more are expected to begin soon, with projects running up until 2017. However, although the IEE programme is financing the set-up or upgrade of training schemes as well as other coordination activities, the financing for the large scale training of building workers is much bigger and still needs to be secured. This major financing challenge must now be tackled in order to achieve a smooth transition to a low carbon economy.
For information involving training and qualification courses on energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in buildings, also browse the BUILD UP Training schemes section at http://www.buildup.eu/training-schemes.