Training minister launches green skills initiative with first hands-on construction site

Jamie Hepburn and Stephen Good, CEO of CSIC

MARKING the Cities, Regions and Built Environment day of COP26, Jamie Hepburn MSP, Scottish Government minister for higher education and further education, youth employment and training, hosted the first practical workshop of a pioneering green skills programme at Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC).

Low Carbon Learning is Scotland’s first publicly funded training programme in Passivhaus and EnerPHit – a world-renowned approach to the design and construction of new highly energy efficient buildings – designed to equip construction workers with the skills needed to create a sustainable built environment. The initiative aims to upskill and reskill more than 700 people to help meet the demand for green skills required by the construction sector, particularly for retrofitting existing buildings.

The training programme is aimed at construction workers who may be out of work or are facing the prospect of redundancy, supporting them to get back into construction with new skills and knowledge aligned with the future demands of the sector.

Mr Hepburn said: “The scale of the climate emergency is so great that it is crucial that we all work together in an efficient, organised and co-ordinated way to get the most out of the available resources. Programmes like this reassure me that much good, collaborative work is being done.”

Running until the end of July 2022, the programme combines face-to-face practical sessions at CSIC’s Innovation Factory with virtual classroom-style learning. Training focuses largely on Passivhaus standards and EnerPHit – the Passivhaus standard for retrofit projects. 

Passivhaus certified buildings can achieve a reduction of up to 75% in space heating requirements compared to the UK’s typical new-build homes and are proven to reduce carbon consumption, lower energy costs and improve the health and wellbeing of occupiers.

Morrison Construction and other industry partners are developing a Passivhaus solution for a steel frame construction and, together with CSIC, will create a specialised training rig to support learners to explore different construction systems.

Caitriona Jordan, head of retrofit programmes at CSIC, said:New green skills are critical to helping the construction sector and built environment move towards a low carbon future. Reskilling and upskilling is an essential element of that, ensuring the current workforce is able to meet the emerging demand for new processes and standards such as Passivhaus and EnerPHit.

“It is fitting that the first practical session coincides with the built environment day of COP26, and continued momentum around low carbon construction in the period following the climate summit will only underline the importance of developing new sustainable skills.”

Low Carbon Learning is supported by the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council through the National Transition Training Fund and builds on the successful Passivhaus in Practice initiative, delivered by CSIC earlier in 2021. 

For more information about Low Carbon Learning, please visit

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