Skills for an integrated and customer-focussed retrofit process

The retrofitting of homes to make them less leaky and more affordable to heat can help alleviate the cost-of-living crisis being felt acutely across the UK, as well as significantly reduce our carbon footprint.

At a time when child food poverty has doubled in the past year, and 3.26 million households are in fuel poverty, it has never been so important to accelerate the retrofitting of our homes.

However, as the government’s own Mission Zero independent review highlighted, ‘there is a significant skills supply gap for energy efficiency and low carbon heating’, and ‘there is a lack of information and advice for consumers on how to upgrade their home’.

Foresighting, an activity that forecasts emerging skills and identifies the gaps in current provision and future need, has the potential to future-proof the UK’s workforce.

In this project, Energy Systems Catapult focussed on identifying the skills and knowledge required to create a Net-Zero mission-driven, customer-focused workforce that employs a whole systems approach to both the supply chain and individual properties and embraces the use of innovative digital tools.

Key points

Training has traditionally been updated and revised based on demand from industry, but demand will also be dependant on a retrofit process that provides good customer experiences and outcomes. A satisfactory customer journey will only happen if the workforce has the requisite skills, and the challenge now is to work with training providers and industry to prepare learning resources for practitioners that are accessible, informative, and that are demonstrably worthy of investing in for the future success of their business.

Training will need to move away from a standardised model to a more personalised approach that can cater for new entrants from a range of backgrounds and experience, thus growing and widening the talent pool in a sector that requires creative thinking and problem-solving abilities to solve the complex challenges involved in retrofitting the UK’s housing stock

  • The project has created an evidence base to demonstrate where specific skills gaps exist at present, most pressingly in customer advice and low carbon heating design. It has also identified the wider need to train practitioners to employ an integrated approach to retrofit.
  • In addition to identifying these key skills gaps, the Foresighting exercise demonstrated that there is currently a lack of training provision for monitoring and evaluating retrofit measures post-installation. The use of digital tools to accurately measure energy usage in properties will help set consumers’ expectations about the outcomes retrofit measures can help deliver and provide a means to monitor the ongoing performance of those measures. This will build consumer confidence, encourage uptake, and boost customer satisfaction, but only if the workforce has the skills to implement this vital technology.
  • 70% of the knowledge and skills required to support and deliver an integrated and customer-focussed retrofit process (as perceived by our experts) are not supported by current IfATE standards, but the findings from this Foresighting activity have already been incorporated into the consultation process by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education when updating existing standards.

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Skills for an integrated and customer focussed retrofit process

Skills and Training for Net Zero Homes

Accelerating the market for zero carbon skills and training to tackle the unparalleled task of upgrading of UK housing stock and heating systems for Net Zero

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