• 72% would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed
• 76% currently use electricity and 59% use gas but if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable sources of energy
• Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network working to solve the big issues facing society today, highlighted in a report out today
New research shows the extent of Greater Birmingham and Solihull’s demand for sustainable living, as the majority would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed. A report released alongside the research highlights the technical skills that are needed if Greater Birmingham and Solihull consumers’ green ambitions are to be met.
The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report, produced on behalf of the Institutes of Technology, looks at a range of challenges that communities, face today, including sustainable construction and energy. Research released alongside the report shows that 33% of people in the West Midlands would consider a home to be worth more money if it was sustainably constructed. It also shows that whilst the majority of people in the West Midlands currently use electricity 76% and gas 59% if cost wasn’t a factor 42% would opt for renewable sources of energy. Furthermore, people in the West Midlands would rather have good insulation 33% in their next home than plentiful built-in storage 32% or an entertaining space 27%.
However, despite this appetite for greener living, the ‘The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report outlines that a workforce with the right technical skills are needed to make it a reality. For instance, waste is a major issue in the construction industry, generating around three fifths (62%) of total UK waste in 2018. Modern methods of construction like 8D Building Information Modelling (BIM) can make the process more efficient as a lot of the planning and preparation work can be done digitally, but more workers with the skillset to use and read the equipment are needed. Additionally, employment in the wind industry is expected to grow by 170% by 2026 , so a pipeline of talent with the skills to work with offshore wind energy technology is needed to achieve the full potential of the resource.
Greater Birmingham and Solihull Institute of Technology (IoT) is part of a new national network of regional partnerships between local colleges, universities and leading employers across England, created to ensure the technical skills and knowledge needed to overcome the biggest challenges communities face are accessible to all. IoTs provide training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based occupations, many of which address sustainability demands facing the country, such as in energy, construction and agritech industries. Their work is increasing the accessibility of vital expertise for employers seeking to embrace innovation.
Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, says: “Institutes of Technology are not only playing a critical role in helping to close skills gaps in key sectors such as sustainable construction, but crucially, they are providing people with high quality technical training that leads to good jobs, helping to level up opportunity across our country.
“The need to support sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital looks set to only grow and with their close ties to employers, Institutes of Technology will be the driving force behind ensuring the workforce is ready for future technological change and changing working practices.”
Rosa Wells, Executive Director of Employment & Skills and IoT at the College, comments: “It’s positive to see that consumers are placing such importance on living sustainably and the good news is that there are many opportunities available today to improve the sustainability of our homes; from the array of renewable energy options, to increasing the efficiency of homes through good insulation.
“However, there is a pressing need for workers with the knowledge needed to meet the growing demand which is a real challenge for employers. We can’t drive forward substantial change in these areas without the workforce to carry it out, so Institutes of Technology are working closely with local communities and employers to identify exactly what the needs are, then skilling new workers and upskilling existing workers to meet them.”
As well as covering Energy: Powering the nation in new ways and Construction: Building a sustainable future, The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report looks into other challenges communities are facing today, and how Institutes of Technology are helping to plug gaps. The topics include, Cyber: Tackling threats to national security, Electric Vehicles: Driving transport innovation and Agriculture: Cultivating technical skills.