Local employers gathered at a recent Leeds College of Building event to learn more about the growing demand for green skills in construction. The employer breakfast welcomed a range of construction stakeholders and focussed on the green skills gaps, the College’s training, and exciting opportunities to collaborate.
Around 35 guests attended the JAST (Joseph Aspdin Skills Trust) sponsored event, including representatives from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), United Living, Leeds City Council, Sparta Systems, Wrapt Homes, and R. Bunton Ltd.
Industry experts delivered presentations highlighting the latest trends and best practice in green skills and sustainability. Following this, attendees participated in interactive activities to share ideas across specialisms.
Andrew Whitehead, Head of College Experience, Behaviour and Engagement at Leeds College of Building, explained: “Green skills is a massive area of focus in the construction industry right now, driven by industry demands and a shortage of young talent. Our first green skills employer breakfast was inspired by the need to promote green skills provision to the construction industry.
“Employers are citing sustainability as a key priority moving forwards, especially given new apprenticeship and qualification standards that incorporate requirements for sustainability. Organisations are looking to find efficiencies for economic and environmental reasons. The need for a more sustainable society has never been more important.”
Data from The UK Trade Skills Index 2023 shows that the drive for decarbonisation and transitioning homes to net zero alone is expected to grow by 1.5% annually from 2023 to 2027, increasing to 1.9% from 2028 to 2032.
Andrew continued: “We plan to use the information gathered from the first employer breakfast to deliver four additional events in the next academic year. This work will include further student involvement and looking at opportunities to incorporate sustainability and green skills into even more of our curricula.
“The Employer Green Skills Breakfast was a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation. Attendees had the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and exchange insights. Thanks to all who attended and shared their thoughts. We look forward to working together and moving into a greener future!”
Leeds College of Building is now hoping to attract more SME construction firms to the green skills network, to benefit from the knowledge and best practice of larger firms in the group. The College is also looking at ways to get even more students involved in sustainability.
Plans include setting up a student-led action group, delivering training on the requirement to decarbonise current housing stock, embedding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the college, and enhancing staff CPD and training.
To find out more about green skills in construction or to add your construction firm to the green skills network and find out about future networking events, please contact: Rob Smith, Head of College Partnerships & Skills, RJSmith@lcb.ac.uk