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Net zero takes skills

When we hear governments talk about net zero, or the green agenda more broadly, often the rhetoric is admirable – but there’s often a realisation gap in outlining what it’ll take to achieve the vision in practice. A sufficiently skilled workforce for example would need to sit at the heart of any proactive approach.

From a housing perspective it can’t be a case of waiting for the time to be right – training takes time. As the CITB’s Building Skills for Net Zero very capably pointed out – ‘Training provision must be planned and managed actively; demand-led training will not be sufficient.’

But thinking around skills shouldn’t be limited to the construction or technical roles that we might have come to associate with net zero; how homes are managed, lived- in and maintained will be of equal importance. Without thinking ahead about the skills that housing and asset management teams will need, there’s a risk homes won’t be as effective in practice creating a performance gap
and households won’t reap the benefits of more efficient homes – be they new build or retrofitted.

At CIH Cymru we’ve called on the Welsh Government to work with the sector to develop a workforce strategy for social and affordable housing. Skills facilitate delivery – and there’s a lot to deliver when we consider the 20,000 low carbon social housing target, decarbonisation and fire safety activity. But with the right approach to skills we’ll have a workforce ready and able to proactively meet those challenges.

Matt Kennedy is policy and public affairs manager at CIH Cymru

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