The European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) held from 20th to 22nd June, witnessed an engaging discussion on addressing the skills gap in the construction sector. The European Builders Confederation (EBC) was invited to share insights from Construction SMEs and crafts during the event.
EBC Secretary General, Fernando Sigchos Jiménez, participated in the policy session “Decarbonising the EU’s building stock: addressing the skills gap?” co-organized by the European Commission’s DG ENER and CINEA. The panel brought together policymakers, industry professionals, energy, and training experts to address the importance of enhancing the competencies of the construction workforce to meet energy transition goals and achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The discussion highlighted the pressing need for a skilled workforce in areas such as digitalization, hybridization, and system optimization to support the Renovation Wave initiative. According to the European Commission, around 3 to 4 million construction workers in the EU require energy efficiency-related skills.
The focus of the dialogue also extended to the industry estimates indicating the need for an additional 750,000 installers by 2030 and the reskilling of at least 50% of existing installers to double building heat pump deployment rates in line with the REPowerEU Plan objective.
Fernando Sigchos Jiménez emphasized that attracting, retaining, upskilling, and reskilling talent has been a long-standing challenge for the construction sector, especially for small businesses and crafts. To foster sustainability in the industry, he stressed the importance of changing the perception of vocational training and education as a last resort option, urging EU Member States to make a greater commitment.
Additionally, he shared successful initiatives from EBC members, including events targeted towards Generation Z to showcase the evolution of construction trades and the establishment of a women construction entrepreneurs network in France, among others.
Earlier, on 7th June, the EBC Secretary General participated in the webinar “The clean energy transition for buildings: Professional associations enhancing renovation skills,” co-organized by the Build Up skills portal and other European associations. During the webinar, the focus was on the impact of energy efficiency and renewable energy directives on construction and renovation projects.
The engagements at EUSEW 2023 provided valuable insights into addressing the skills gap in the construction sector and promoting sustainability through a skilled workforce