Date: 20/11/2023

We are all aware of the need to improve the efficiency of our homes and raise its ‘Green’ credentials. Whether it’s for ecological, environmental, or financial reasons, there is a growing trend, moving towards more energy efficient homes.

According to the World Economic Forum, the global number of green jobs has grown eight percent % per year over the last five years. Traditional trades such as plumber, electrician, roofer, etc, are all having to adapt and learn new skills to comply with the new greener equipment and legislation for new homes and retrofitting existing homes. However, the demand for sustainability expertise is outpacing the supply of talent. This shortage has been termed the green skills gap.

The green skills gap has developed due to several reasons. The evolution of greener technologies and practices has been significantly quicker than the ability for people to gain the relevant skills. The more traditional trades such as electrician and plumber aren’t seen as glamorous when compared to a career spent as a YouTube influencer or celebrity and a general ineffectiveness of recruitment practices has led to fewer people joining the professions. Inadequate training and institutional education failures have all contributed towards high employee turnover and a widening of the skills gap. Once you’re out of the system or industry, it’s very hard to get back into it. Construction workers or trades people are required to have an array of training just to walk through the door and job opportunities appear to be limited to those with qualifications, experience, and a level of industry knowledge.

So how do you get your foot on the bottom rung if the bottom rung requires you to already be on the ladder?

Solving a real-world problem

Fortem have a solution. Established in 2002, Fortem provides specialist property solutions tailored to keep social homes and buildings running smoothly. Alongside their core functions, they have extensive experience in decarbonisation, specialising in making social homes more energy-efficient and helping social landlords on their journey to become zero carbon.

As part of their work in the sustainability and environment areas, Fortem are offering residents an opportunity to get into the green space, experience what the industry has to offer, earn a wage, and develop skills the industry needs.

Fortem’s Retrofit Access Programme is a new pathway for green skills and is specifically aimed at residents of any age with; little to no skills or qualifications, or those who are unemployed and looking for help to get a job. Fortem are offering to take those interested, and over the course of a programme of work (typically a year), give them experience in all aspects of modern trade skills, working alongside qualified, experienced trades people working on external wall insulation, heat pumps, roof insulation, windows, and doors and so much more. Fortem will provide training and those who apply themselves will achieve a CSCS card, training in manual handling, asbestos awareness, working at height and general health & safety training which most employers in the sector will value. Alongside this training, they will also receive employability support including CV workshops and interview advice, they will be connected with local subcontractors and be shown local job opportunities. Supported by skilled mentors they will have the ability to earn a salary while making a difference.

By completing the contract, participants will receive a Fortem "Green Passport", recognised by the Fortem supply chain and partners, including Fortem’s group company Wilmott Dixon. Those achieving the Green Passport will also be offered the opportunity to apply for a Fortem apprenticeship and get a head start on others by being guaranteed a place at Fortem’s Assessment Day, where Fortem employees begin the recruitment process for new apprentices. The apprenticeship could lead to a whole new career with qualifications and skills that the industry needs. Fortem’s Retrofit Access Programme is a new pathway for green skills, empowering residents to bridge the green skills gap, creating brighter futures, building a sustainable tomorrow, one career at a time.

Fortem’s experience, commitment to best practice and exemplary quality, together with a genuine partnered approach, ensures they achieve excellent outcomes for their partners, clients, and customers. Fortem have an established track record of improving communities and creating better places for people to work and live.

Geoff Parkinson, Head of Procurement at Fortem said; “Fortem’s retrofit access programme is a tangible opportunity for people to earn while they learn. Starting people on a path that lead to qualifications, experience, and trade skills that the industry is crying out for. Fortem will support anyone who wants to start a career to help plug the growing green skills gap guaranteeing places in an exciting industry and future employment. This cannot happen without collaboration between all stakeholders working towards a common goal of creating a competent and capable workforce that is needed to help retrofit and decarbonise homes in the UK, whilst also creating jobs and career opportunities for local people.”

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