Sustainability skills gap must be plugged to meet the West Midland’s green home aspirations
- 72% of people in the West Midlands would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed
- The majority of people in the West Midlands currently use electricity [69%] and gas [59%] in their homes, but if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable, sustainable or green sources of energy
- Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network working to solve the big issues facing society today, highlighted in a report out today.
New research shows the extent of the West Midland’s demand for sustainable living, as the majority would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed. A report released alongside the research highlights the technical skills that are needed if the West Midlands’ consumers’ green ambitions are to be met.
The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report, produced on behalfi of the Institutes of Technologyii, looks at a range of challenges that communities face today, including sustainable construction and energy. Research released alongside the report shows that 72% of people in the West Midlands would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructediii. It also shows that whilst the majority of people in the West Midlands currently use electricity [76%] and gas [59%] if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable sources of energy. Furthermore, people in the West Midlands would rather have good insulation [41%] in their next home than plentiful built-in storage [32%] or an entertaining space [27%].
However, despite this appetite for greener living, the ‘The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report outlines that a workforce with the right technical skills are needed to make it a reality. For instance, waste is a major issue in the construction industry, generating around three fifths (62%) of total UK waste in 2018iv. Modern methods of construction like 8D Building Information Modelling (BIM) can make the process more efficient as a lot of the planning and preparation work can be done digitally, but more workers with the skillset to use and read the equipment are needed. Additionally, employment in the wind industry is expected to grow by 170% by 2026v, so a pipeline of talent with the skills to work with offshore wind energy technology is needed to achieve the full potential of the resource.
Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network of regional partnerships between local colleges, universities and leading employers across England, created to ensure the technical skills and knowledge needed to overcome the biggest challenges communities face are accessible to all. IoTs provide training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based occupations, many of which address sustainability demands facing the country, such as in energy, construction and agritech industries. Their work is increasing the accessibility of vital expertise for employers seeking to embrace innovation.
Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, says: “Institutes of Technology are not only playing a critical role in helping to close skills gaps in key sectors such as sustainable construction, but crucially, they are providing people with high quality technical training that leads to good jobs, helping to level up opportunity across our country.
“The need to support sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital looks set to only grow and with their close ties to employers, Institutes of Technology will be the driving force behind ensuring the workforce is ready for future technological change and changing working practices.”
Georgina Barnard; Managing Director Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology said:
“We’re pleased to be part of a partnership that will support the delivery of sustainable practice. Many of our programmes in Construction and the Built Environment and in Advanced Engineering are addressing the green agenda, so we can make sure the region is not left behind in terms of building a skilled workforce to tackle the challenges we face in the future.
As well as covering Energy: Powering the nation in new ways and Construction: Building a sustainable future, The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report looks into other challenges communities are facing today, and how Institutes of Technology are helping to plug gaps. The topics include, Cyber: Tackling threats to national security, Electric Vehicles: Driving transport innovation and Agriculture: Cultivating technical skills.