The ConClip Context

Efforts towards a "green economy" challenges the job market and requires the development and application of new skills and updating of existing skills and, therefore, new contents/types of training to meet actual and future demands. The construction sector engaged in the construction and fitting of passive houses has to overcome a lack of trained workers to build high quality passive houses without construction defects (e.g. connection of ventilation ducts). 

To this day the reputation of passive houses suffers from those and the implementation of the "Europe 2020" strategy's aims wears on even though a much higher amount of passive houses could be realised – next to the existing success of more than 10% (Belgium) or 20% (other countries) of newly built single family houses and multi-storey dwellings being passive houses already. 
Even though experienced workers deal with these building projects, their training has not yet or rarely included the handling of passive houses. 

Additionally up to 20% of 11 million people being directly employed in the European construction sector are migrants (within or outside the EU). Especially the skills of older workers' are outdated and the existing training infrastructure in their home country is not sufficient to retrain them. There is also a problem with the school-to-work transition. After the collapse of the planned economy, most vocational training schools dependent on or attached to large state companies disappeared. Nowadays many young workers enter the labour market without the necessary skills, which puts them in a disadvantaged position. Research* has identified:

•    Most European countries will experience at least a slight shortage of building workers by 2020. However the need for training of the current workforce is much stronger than the estimated need for additional number of workers. This highlights the importance of continuing education for the current workforce.

•    The EU building sector mostly experiences skills gaps (i.e. vacancies filled/ jobs done with incomplete skills set) rather than skills shortages (i.e. vacancies not filled/ jobs not done due to the lack of people with at least some knowledge, skills and competences). There is an urgent need to up-skill existing workforce, not to re-train it.

•    Carpenters and joiners, bricklayers and stonemasons and building electricians are the most frequently mentioned occupations identified as requiring additional training. These occupations are also those with the highest numbers of workers requiring additional training and those with the highest demand expected in the labour market. Thus the training needs of these occupations are important to address 

•    However, the national status quo reports also identify specific skills needs for other occupations. Many reports point to the importance of transferable and cross-trade knowledge and skills related to the energy performance of buildings.

•    The current qualification courses and schemes required for the energy performance of buildings, as well as the training and accreditation structures for carrying out these courses are not satisfactory and are underdeveloped even in countries with highly favourable conditions for adult learning.

Roger Hobbs

*  Build Up Skills