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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Growing a highly skilled zero carbon workforce

Decarbonising UK homes is one of the hardest challenges on the way to Net Zero.

Buildings account for almost 20% of UK carbon emissions, mainly the result of using fossil fuels for space and water heating – yet it is not a one size fits all approach.

With some of the oldest and most energy inefficient housing stock in Europe1 and about 90% of  existing homes expected to still be in use in 2050, the UK has the task of upgrading a large percentage of the UK’s 29 million homes – perhaps 26 million homes.

Millions of individual retrofit interventions need to be coordinated nationally, regionally and locally. The size of the problem is enormous, and currently there are not enough tradespeople with relevant skills to carry out the work at the scale required.

By doing nothing, the domestic retrofit sector will remain fragmented, delivering insufficient and poor-quality installations for consumers, and the UK will fail to meet the government’s 2050 net zero target.

Our research suggests training approaches should consider all aspects of decarbonisation, including advice, assessment, commercial models, coordination and installation.

Increase the Quantity

We need to increase the quantity of tradespeople with decarbonisation skills – professionals with deep understanding of low and zero carbon energy options for homes and workplaces – through conversion courses for existing tradespeople and future proof training curricula for new entrants.

Deliver High Quality

We need to equip tradespeople with the skills to deliver high quality solutions to achieve good customer outcomes.

Manage the Complexity

We need to equip tradespeople with the skills to understand and manage the complexity of decarbonising homes.

How we can help you...

Energy Systems Catapult draws on a range of expertise to help develop the market for zero carbon training and skills

News, Reports & Insights

Explore our news, reports, insights, guides, case studies, policy briefs, and more.


Skills shortage in 4 key job roles and 3 sector challenges holding back home decarbonisation

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Foresighting Skills for Net Zero Homes

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Policy Brief

Skills for Net Zero Homes

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Visit our News & Insights page

Case Studies

Future heat decarbonisation workforce

Supported by the Gatsby Foundation, and building on work started by the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, we are currently undertaking an initial foresighting exercise to identify key needs for our future heat decarbonisation workforce aligned.

Based on the HVMC approach, we have built on knowledge from existing literature, external experts and our internal innovation projects (Electrification of Heat, Modern Energy Partners, Smart Systems and Heat) to identify the key challenges in the domestic retrofit sector

We are addressing the challenges around retrofit, by taking a whole system approach to capture and aid coordination between the varied stakeholders and highlighting recommendations and gaps that may occur in the overall retrofit eco system.

In parallel, we are working with a consortium of seven Local Enterprise Partnerships and Combined Authorities to develop proposals for a national roadmap which would seek to build upon the workforce required for Net Zero.

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If you are interested in working with us, contact us by completing the form and one of the team will be in touch.

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