1 March, 2024

Green Skills Project: An update

The Green Skills Project is based in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole and focuses on how collaboration in the social housing sector and beyond can provide green skills, training and jobs in local communities to help reach the sector’s Net Zero goals.

November 2023: An update with Eleanor Cook, Project Manager, Retrofit Academy


Eleanor presented the findings from the The Retrofit Academy Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Retrofit Supply Chain Report which was commissioned by HACT. The report looked at supply chain requirements and retrofit roles within BCP as well as looking at the broader challenges across the UK. Abri, Aster Group, Sovereign, Stonewater and BCHA are the 5 housing associations in BCP that The Retrofit Academy worked with for the report.

National challenges:

BCP Context:

Thanks to SHDF Wave 2.1 and HUG 2 funding, the Retrofit Academy have done a lot of work engaging with supply chain partners, including tier 1 and 2 contractors, to carry out interviews, mapping and identify supply chain and workforce gaps – all to build a realistic picture of retrofit across the country. This also feeds into training programme and product development plans. In terms of skills, a survey with 18 tier 1 and 22 contractors found that the most in demand skills are also the ones where the shortage is greatest; EWI (external wall installation), ASHP (air source heat pumps), Retrofit Designer, Retrofit Assessor, Retrofit Coordinator and Retrofit Advisor – making these an area of priority. To put this shortage in to context, at the time of the event, in BCP there is only 1 Retrofit Co-ordinator and only 15 Retrofit Assessors.

The barriers to retrofit include:

Main findings from the report:

You can listen to the recording of Eleanor’s session here where she discusses the report in more detail, and download her presentation here.


January: An update with Claire Lee Managing Director, The Learning Foundry


Claire joined us to share insight into the need for green jobs and the impact on the economy, and the work around skills bootcamps that The Learning Foundry are carrying out. Claire highlighted how it is estimated that around a fifth of the UK’s jobs (21%) will be affected by the transition to a green economy, to put that into perspective in 2022, 10,000 people had the skills required to deliver on decarbonisation goals, but for 2030, 35,000 people will be needed, increasing to 55,000 people by 2040. The divide between what we have and what we need is significant so collaborative solutions are key to meeting skill needs. To meet Net Zero skills requirements we need to think about:

In terms of the Green Skills bootcamps that The Learning Foundry are holding, it is a funded, short-term intensive training programme, which is delivered over 8-16 weeks which focus on specific, industry-aligned skills. The programmes are flexible to maximise meeting needs and including accessibility, and they are designed to equip learners with the knowledge, practical experience, and employability skills necessary to secure roles or up-skill positions in high-demand sectors. The programme has been co-designed with The Learning Foundry’s employer network to fill skills gaps and support the Net Zero Carbon targets, and supports employers across the social housing sector to:

• Develop a loyal and talented workforce with the skills they need quickly
• Future proof their business in a rapidly changing labour market
• Improve productivity through learning
• Recruit staff with the right training and skills from the outset
• Support to access funding

Collaboration and understanding needs and barriers on individual, community and sector levels underpinned Claire’s session, and is at the core of the Green Skills Project. You can listen to the recording of Claire’s session here and download her presentation here.

February: An update with Christina Byrne, Regional Social Value Manager, Wates   and David Bussey, National Employer and Partnerships Manager, Clarion Housing Group and Chair of the Green Skills Network

Christina and David shared the background, learnings and outcomes of a collaborative pilot Wates and Clarion ran throughout last December, starting with an overview of how the UK’s green jobs industry which encompasses comes as a broad range of sectors, including renewable energy, environmental conservation, sustainability, waste management, clean technology, in addition to others. They highlighted how there is a big focus on the fact that there’s huge skills shortages and a lack of skilled workers, and as much as this is a real challenge, it is also a real opportunity for us to support on this. This is where the collaboration between Wates and Clarion comes in, this is a real opportunity for social housing providers and construction to create green alliances that support residents and communities to develop their confidence and skills to get a job and to thrive in that job and to really have a career. Of course, it would be hard to discuss the skills gap and how to bridge it without drawing attention to the fact that there are barriers to getting more people into green jobs, such as, lack of experience, skills shortages, tutor shortages and a lack of inclusivity. For example, 98% of Clarion’s construction programs were attended by men, highlighting the reality of the construction sector.

The December pilot also involved a third partner, Reed Environment, and supported residents and non-residents into training to become a Domestic Energy Assessor and Retrofit Assessor. Once they have completed the training, the plan is, if they are comfortable and want to progress to the next level, to look at potentially doing some other courses to try and up-skill them to continue their skill and career progression. Due to the nature of the work the pilot is for, initial basic DBS checks were ran, and so were interviews with candidates, not only to check they met the criteria, but also to get to know them and their needs better. Once accepted, participants attended the 6-day course and as of December 2023:

You can listen to the recording of Christina and David’s session here and download her presentation here.

Join us for the next Green Skills update with Richard Tyrie Founder / CEO of GoodPeople

Date: Thursday 22 March

Time:  13:00 – 14:00

Richard will be presenting on the work being completed by GoodPeople, and this will be followed by a Q&A. You don’t need to be part of the network to attend!

Register here!

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If you would like to know more about a Green Skills Project or enquire about joining the network, then get in touch

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