On 21 September, the European Heating Industry (EHI) organised an online event titled “Heating systems installers: Ready to deliver the energy transition?”, to which EBC Secretary General Fernando Sigchos Jiménez was invited to speak, next to the shadow rapporteur on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in the ITRE committee MEP M. H. Petersen (Renew, Denmark), the Head of Unit Buildings and Products in DG Energy S. Moser, P. Crombez from Daikin Europe and the EHI Secretary General F. Sabbati.
This event was built around the recent EHI report “Heating systems installers: expanding and upskilling the workforce to deliver the energy,” which aims at assessing the state of play regarding installers’ skills in the context of the twin transition.
It quickly emerged from the discussion that the lack of data on the skills needed for the greening and digitisation of building renovation at national level is a major issue. Similarly, the speakers discussed the different consideration for vocational education across Member states, as education is a national and/or regional competence. Finally, the need to change the image of the sector and to better promote the evolution of certain tasks and professions to attract new talent and the need to upskill or re-skill current workers was widely discussed.
Mr. Sigchos Jiménez explained that the EPBD revision is critical to push for a reliable system of data collection to assess gaps between the current workforce and the one needed to deliver the Renovation Wave and the Green Deal. This information is fundamental not only to quantify the real needs in terms of qualified workforce, but also to make the right decisions regarding the update of training programs or the development of new schemes.
He continued by explaining that attracting and retaining talent is a historic and structural challenge in the construction sector, and that the digitalisation and “greening” of the construction sector represent a real opportunity to change the societal perception of the sector. More needs to be done to better promote the career opportunities emanating from the mechanisation, digitalisation, safety concerns and environmental awareness spreading in the sector. He concluded by pointing out the low participation of women in construction and the lack of interest of young people, for whom specific awareness raising initiatives are crucial.
EBC looks forward to further engaging with stakeholders on the vital topic of skills in construction, especially so considering its involvement in Pact for Skills in construction and the Erasmus+ project Construction Blueprint for skills.