Green Deal Skills Alliance secures £1.4m to help firms go green

The Green Deal Skills Alliance (a partnership of SummitSkills, Asset Skills and ConstructionSkills) has secured £1.4m to help employers take advantage of commercial opportunities around the low carbon agenda.

The funding was secured from government’s £61m Employer Investment Fund; a flagship initiative managed by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which is designed to boost enterprise, jobs and growth. The investment secured in the construction sector will provide financial support for two years – to enable the Green Deal Skills Alliance to build upon work already underway – creating qualifications frameworks and providing on the ground support for firms looking to top up the skills of their workforce and diversify their business during the downturn.

News of the additional funding came after Gregory Barker, minister of state for the department of energy and climate change announced that the Green Deal has the potential to create up to 100,000 retrofitting jobs in the construction sector by 2020 – making the initiative the largest home improvement scheme since World War Two.

Recently, the Green Deal Skills Alliance embarked on a series of roadshows across the country to help small and medium sized businesses understand the Green Deal and provide business advice and guidance on how to exploit the new market. The new funding will support more of these localised interactions to support industry.

Keith Marshall OBE, chief executive of SummitSkills, said: “At a very challenging time for businesses in building services engineering, securing this funding is great news. Now that we’re counting down to the launch of the government’s Green Deal initiative in October 2012, preparing the workforce to take advantage of the opportunities it offers will help to secure the future success of our sector.

“Skilled operatives who are able to design, install and maintain environmental technologies will be central to the UK improving the energy efficiency of its homes and achieving its carbon reduction targets. We are excited that this funding will enable us to build upon the success of our on-going work with ConstructionSkills, AssetSkills and all of our partners as we work to equip the right people with the right skills for this opportunity.”

Mark Farrar, chief executive of ConstructionSkills said: “The Green Deal has the potential to stimulate growth in the construction sector at a time when our industry needs it most and we’re working with industry partners to ensure that we provide the right skills and knowledge for businesses looking to enter the green construction market.

“Not only will the EIF funding support more engagement with local employers across the country, but it will also support our teams in working with LEPs and Local Authorities, as a means of providing the necessary guidance all businesses will need – as the details of the Green Deal and government’s commitment to this initiative are rolled out next year. Whilst we look forward to more details emerging from Government over the coming weeks and months, securing this level of investment into the construction sector is certainly good news for our industry.”

Richard Beamish, chief executive of AssetSkills said: “We’re delighted to have secured funding from the EIF – as it will help us to prepare for the opportunities available and work closely with industry around the qualifications and accreditations that it needs.”

“The funding to continue with the green skills events is extremely good news for industries in the built environment. It is so crucial that employers are aware of the changes the Green Deal will bring and ensure their workforce has the right skills they need to achieve low carbon targets. The Green Deal will be the route to energy efficiency, and lower fuel bills for many property owners and tenants throughout the UK. A competent, qualified and certificated workforce will be vital for its successful implementation and capturing consumer support.”

Work on the EIF project will begin in 2012 and complete in 2014.