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Next steps for housing skills

Tenant expertise should be at forefront of the green skills challenge, says a new report from CIH Cymru and Aico.

The sector insight report engaged a wide range of professionals to understand skills linked to delivering on some of the biggest ambitions in the sector – from building 20,000 low carbon social homes to improving the quality and safety of existing buildings.

Through a combination of surveying and a sector focus group the report highlights that the scale of the skills challenge to deliver the sector’s ambitions linked to tackling and reducing the impact of climate change.

The report highlights the importance of engaging with tenants to alleviate concerns about new technologies to make homes as efficient as possible and empower their effective use. It was felt that tenant expertise could be further harnessed to refine how organisations approach improving their homes, whilst the opportunity to offer training and routes into new types of employment for tenants and local communities needs to be harnessed, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Other challenges include how organisations access sustainable finance and how supply chains can be made sufficiently resilient to cope with demand whilst allowing for local sourcing of expertise and components.

The report suggests a number of tangible steps that could see further progress in this area including scoping the creation of a housing skills academy for Wales, sharing expertise between organisations and holding knowledge about the effectiveness of retrofitting measures in one place to support sector learning.

Matt Dicks, national director at CIH Cymru said: ‘The approaches we use to improve homes is often a highly technical area of housing activity. But our conversation with the sector captures the importance with which tenant expertise must play in informing, shaping and scrutinising the approach organisations adopt.

‘Whilst we know that the skills needed to realise the ambitious housing vision we all hold for Wales will require a huge boost in new skills and expertise across the sector, we can’t ignore the opportunity this presents. For communities living with the long-term impact of the COVD-19 pandemic alongside the cost-of-living crisis we must do more to ensure those communities are the ones that benefit most from the boost to employment and economic activity this effort represents.”

Reflecting on the work, relationship manager at Aico, Tina Mistry said: ‘We would like to thank CIH Cymru for their support in identifying the importance of engaging with residents to alleviate concerns about new technologies within the homes.

‘The creation of a housing skills academy for Wales can only be achieved through true collaborative working as we need to ensure that every department within the housing sector is not just educated but also empowered to be able to drive this agenda forward. This will also require support from the education sector to develop the future generations, contractors to be upskilled, and most importantly of all, to ensure that residents from all tenures are part of the journey.’


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