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Skills Agenda - Towards a job-rich recovery with sustainable buildings

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Image by MichaelGaida from Pixabay

Elisabeth HOFFMANN, Senior Policy Adviser, VELUX, EuroACE Member

In its recent Renovation Wave, the European Commission outlined its vision on making Europe’s current building stock more energy efficient and sustainable by at least doubling the annual energy renovation rate of buildings by 2030.


Without any doubt, Europe has a unique opportunity to rethink, redesign and modernise our buildings to make them fit for a greener, more digital society, that generates a sustained economic recovery and creates better and healthier homes.


But for this vision to become a reality, we will need to have the right framework conditions. Let’s focus on one important aspect which has the potential to water down the Renovation Wave if not tackled: skills.


As the Commission rightly pointed out “the transformation towards a climate-neutral building stock will only be possible if existing jobs are transformed to include green and circular skills and if new job profiles emerge”.


So if we want to significantly boost energy renovation rates and use greener technologies to decarbonise our building stock, we have to train, re-skill and up-skill workers in line with the Green Deal objectives and provide them with the right toolbox to help them properly advise building owners along the renovation journey.


We must also attract new talents to avoid a potential shortage of qualified workers. This will not happen overnight but requires joint action, particularly at national and local level, building on existing initiatives like BUILD UP Skills Initiative. But how can we achieve this?


The good news is that the recently launched European Skills Agenda and the Pact for Skills, which will be launched during the Vocational Skills Week(9-13thNovember 2020), represent good starting points.


Buildings and the construction sector will be among the focus areas and we are ready to work with relevant stakeholders all along the value chain.


But in order to move to the next level, we must adopt a more collective approach linked to a real political will (particularly at national level) to mobilise investments in skills.


We therefore call on Member States to come forward with ambitious national roadmaps for training the construction workforce in 2021. Only then we can unleash the full potential of creating new local jobs inthe construction sector as part of Europe’s economic recovery.