Major installer bodies have launched a coalition body that is working on a plan to address the green-skills crisis.
The new Engineering and Building Services Skills Authority (EBSSA) will bring together existing members of engineering-services alliance Actuate UK with other bodies, including energy-infrastructure-technologies trade association BEAMA and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.
The new body is working on an action plan to boost the engineering- and building-services workforce needed to deliver decarbonised engineering systems.
Helen Yeulet, chair of Actuate UK’s skills group, and director of training and skills at the British Engineering Services Association, said: “Everyone recognises we have a skills gap that will become even more acute as the transition to net zero accelerates.
“EBSSA is a collaborative group representing the key bodies at the forefront of delivering the energy transition. We’ve got the intelligence and the understanding to offer solutions to policymakers and industry.”
Construction News understands that the new body will lobby political parties in the run-up to the next general election, which is set to be held some time before the end of January 2025.
Member bodies are expected to rotate the chairmanship of the body, but an announcement on the first occupant of the post has yet to be made.
EBSSA grew out of conversations held around a Construction Leadership Council working group on installers’ competency, as part of a wider drive to improve competency in construction.
Andrew Eldred, the Electrical Contractors’ Association’s director of workforce and public affairs, and the deputy chair of Actuate UK’s skills group, said: “It makes sense to look at both net-zero delivery and competence at the same time.
“Engineering and building services accounts for 40 per cent of all construction starts and 20 per cent of the workforce, yet there is a gap when it comes advocating for the training and qualifications needed in these areas.”
Marion Marsland, chief executive of one of the non-Actuate members of EBSSA, said: “[The] building-services sector is a priority area. We want to maximise the number of competent professionals who are ready and able to work on the decarbonisation of the UK. This covers all types of building – new and retrofit, domestic, commercial and industrial.”
In May, tier-one contractors were among a host of firms that launched a separate new group aimed at driving residential retrofits at scale, to meet net-zero targets.
The National Home Decarbonisation Group, which has 17 founding members, said it would focus on growing the retrofit supply chain, while advising on government policy and stimulating innovation.
Members of Actuate UK joining EBSSA
Building Engineering Services Association
Testing and research body BSRIA
Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
Electrical Contractors’ Association
Federation of Environmental Trade Associations
Lift and Escalator Industry Association
Non-Actuate UK members joining EBSSA
Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering
Energy infrastructure technologies trade association BEAMA
Low-carbon products and installations certification body MCS
Thermal Insulation Contractors Association