20 July, 2023

The Centre Connects: Focus on Green Skills - Key insights

On Wednesday 14 June, The Centre for Excellence in Community Investment held the first Centre Connects session, with a focus on green skills. Discussions during the session and speakers’ presentations yielded interesting insights!

For the first part of the event, speakers working across the sector shared the learnings and insights they have gained from working on innovative projects centred around green skills.

You can download Robert, Debra and Rob’s presentations on the Green Skills Project and network page.

Attendees participated in a short Q&A following the presentations and then broke into regional breakout rooms to discuss existing work on Green Skills in their areas, their workforce challenges about retrofitting, and how the new Green Skills Network can overcome those challenges through collaboration. The key takeaway points from these breakout discussions were: 

  1. Workforce development – We need to work with external stakeholders, particularly contractors and further education colleges, universities, LEPs, and sixth form colleges to develop earlier stage qualifications and skills pathways that that are accessible because they give people worthwhile experience and sufficient pay. There was a recognition that the barriers to employment that exist for people who our training and employment teams work with include digital competence, literacy, numeracy, and these skills can’t be ignored as we push for green skills training. 
  2. Communication – there are many areas where good communication is needed, both internally and between housing associations and their residents and partners. These include establishing clearer definitions of terms like ‘green skills’ and ‘green jobs’ and decreasing silo working in housing associations (particularly between community investment teams and procurement and sustainability teams on this issue). Most vitally, we must get communications with residents right. This means making sure housing associations up-skill Resident Liaison Officers so they have the knowledge and interpersonal skills to build trust and communicate effectively with residents about know how to use new equipment. Our attempts at retrofitting will be useless if residents are not fully on board.
  3. Collaboration – collaboration is necessary for numerous reasons – it can help housing associations share information and learn from each other and reduce the risks of going down the wrong route, it can help with including rural organisations in accessing training, workforce, and other resources. It can increase our collective voice, whether that means making better bids to the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, or improving our lobbying for change at a national and local level. 

If you want to continue conversations about Green Skills and hear about future network meetings, please contact adam.chester@hact.org.uk, who can add you to Basecamp, our online collaboration space for all our networks to chat in-between meetings. 

Useful resources

Tpas and Placeshapers have produced a report on tenant engagement: Residents Voices in Net-Zero Carbon journey.

Northern Housing Consortium have published the recommendations from their Social Housing Tenants Climate Jury about how tenants, social housing providers, and others can work together to tackle climate change in their homes and neighbourhoods. 

Coming out of the Tenants Climate Jury Northern Housing Consortium, Placeshapers and Tpas are working together on a retrofit communications toolkit. The aim is to create comms resources to support social landlords to communicate with customers about retrofit. Sign up to their newsletters to hear when it’s completed. 

The Greener Herts Partnership is made up by B3Living, Settle and Watford Community Housing, who are working in partnership to make Hertfordshire’s homes more sustainable.

A directory of organisations, articles and resources which focus on a responsible transition to green energy which ensure workforces, communities and consumers are not left behind or bearing an unfair cost 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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