12th May Journal Column

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

Last year, construction company Esh Group began working on a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) funded Carbon Coach course. The programme aims to help tackle the industry’s skills shortage and meet Government carbon reduction targets – two birds with one stone!

Esh Group identified the need to educate young people entering the construction industry in energy efficiency and awareness, and I couldn’t agree more. There’s always a need to educate people in something new, more so with young people coming into the industry, after all the future of our industry is in their hands.

The programme has been developed online which will upskill apprentices alongside their core discipline as additional learning addressing a skills gap. The innovative course includes four modules covering; Climate Change, Energy sources, Low Carbon Design, and Energy Management. It gives apprentices the on-site know-how to shape a sustainable future for the industry while reducing costs. It features interactive content with voice-over, which for some people is a more engaging way to learn and it’s flexible, so can be available as and when the learner wants.

The programme aims to influence behaviours in relation to energy efficiency both on and off site which will have a long-term impact for Esh Group and the wider industry. I have no doubt in my mind that Carbon Coach will have a positive impact in the region and provide the future workforce with high-quality, innovative training to give them the best start to their careers. By targeting apprentices early on in their training, we can help them to make carbon reduction an important part of their careers. Developing this programme for apprentices provides both the background knowledge and practical skills which will prepare the industry to respond to the Government’s 2025 objective ‘Driving Carbon out of the Built Environment 2025’ – which is coming around scarily fast as we’re already four years down the line since it was first announced.

Funding from CITB has seen at least 50 of Esh Group’s 108 apprentices, who are 11% of the workforce, trained in carbon reduction. It’s this funding which has helped launch the programme as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are so many potential apprentices looking for work and further training and as with most training courses, the quicker you get the ball rolling the better.

Constructing Excellence in the North East are delighted to be working in conjunction with Esh Group to deliver an event focussed on the Carbon Coach programme. The event will generate an awareness of the course and promote energy efficiency throughout the industry, featuring a number of workshops from Esh Group employees and industry professionals. For more information or to register for this event please contact Amy Holmes on 0191 5007880 or amy@cene.org.uk