QualiBuild trains 200 construction workers in low energy building
In this blog post, Devyn Olsen-Sawyer of the Irish Green Building Council reviews Ireland's recently complete QualiBuild programme, which upskilled Irish construction workers in low energy building techniques.
The QualiBuild project had a 3-year work plan, which included targets to develop a low-energy construction training programme for building construction workers, as well as a training programme for existing construction trainers. This was in response to the Build Up Skills (BUSI) research which showed a knowledge gap in the industry in the area of low-energy construction fundamentals.
While the funded elements of the QualiBuild project finished at the end of July, the programme outputs will carry on. This includes the Foundation Energy Skills training programme, the Train the Trainer programme and the Construction Skills Register. Over 200 construction workers have now been trained, along with 75 trainers from both public and private training organisations, who are upskilled and qualified to train additional construction workers.
Based on government figures from the National Renovation Strategy (2014), 1.6 million Irish homes need to be renovated. It will take a workforce that is upskilled in quality, low energy building to achieve this task. In 2012, it was a conclusion of BUSI that there are 60,000 building construction workers in Ireland that need a foundation training in low energy building. That figure may be higher now.
Prior to completion of the QualiBuild project, a voluntary training group was established to ensure that the Foundation Energy Skills course may be delivered while discussions continue with Solas about the future of the programme. The course is validated with Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Limerick Institute of Technology as a Special Purpose Award, with plans to submit the course to QQI for validation at Level 5 or 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Another important deliverable, the Construction Skills Register, is now live. The register will be maintained so that building construction workers who have completed the Foundation Energy Skills course, and trainers who have completed the Train the Trainer course, can register. The purpose of the Construction Skills Register is to allow individuals upskilling in quality, low energy construction through the Foundation Energy Skills course, and further training, to highlight the record of this upskilling to potential clients and employers.
While this differs from the CIRI register, in that individuals rather than companies register, the QualiBuild consortium are working with the government to devise a strategy for the register to complement and potentially be incorporated within CIRI. The QualiBuild website will remain live, and contains a large quantity of materials in the area of quality, low energy construction such as case studies, videos, a Quality Building e-book for consumers, as well as outcomes from the project activities. The QualiBuild project has added a great deal of value to the industry over the last three years, and the consortium is confident that the projects outputs will continue to be used to improve skills and quality in the Irish built environment in the coming years.