The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has conducted research which shows that, with an industry-wide investment in skills and a considerable recruitment drive, reducing built environment emissions to net zero can be achieved. Net zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere.
The UK government has committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and the construction industry will require the equivalent of 350,000 new roles to be created by 2028 in order to ensure that things continue on track towards this goal. UK construction contributes approximately 40% of the UK’s emissions, according to the UK Green Building Council, and reducing this to net zero will be a challenge. However, a move to cleaner, greener construction will open up big opportunities to attract newcomers to the industry and upskill existing workforce.
The CITB has used data from the Climate Change Committee to deduce what the skills profile of the workforce needed to deliver net zero will be; this includes the demand for 86,000 construction project managers, 33,000 building envelope specialists and 59,000 plumbers and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) specialists.
One of the key elements that will go towards achieving net zero will be reducing carbon emissions from existing buildings. Across the UK around 80% of buildings that will be in use in 2050 have already been built. Reducing emissions will require work on up to 27 million domestic and two million non-domestic buildings.
The CITB’s report is published to compliment the Construction Leadership Committee (CLC) Skills Plan, which sets out industry action to modernise and decarbonise skills, and CO2nstructZero, a collaborative industry change programme to deliver net zero, recently endorsed by the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF).
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