A house that has been retrofitted and has solar panels on the roof, with green trees behind it.
Image: © reimax16/Stock.adobe.com

New retrofitting skills centre in Cork aims to train 1,500 learners annually

23 May 2023

The centre’s opening follows a report that said Ireland needs to scale up its retrofitting targets to offset construction emissions.

A new centre of excellence for training people in retrofitting skills was officially opened in Bishopstown, Cork by the Government yesterday (22 May).

It is located at the Cork College of Further Education and Training’s Bishopstown Campus. The centre will provide a base for people to learn skills related to building and maintaining homes in a sustainable manner.

It is the fourth centre of excellence dedicated to retrofitting in Ireland. It will be run by Cork Education and Training Board (ETB).

The other three centres are operated by Laois and Offaly ETB, Waterford and Wexford ETB and Limerick and Clare ETB.

The Cork centre will offer courses to people in employment as well as those who are unemployed. It aims to support 1,500 learners annually.

The Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB) Fundamental Awareness course is open to all learners looking to learn more about sustainable building methods.

People in employment can upskill by availing of courses in areas such as NZEB electrical, NZEB plastering, NZEB plumbing, NZEB bricklaying, NZEB carpentry and retrofit insulation skills.

In the future, there will be programmes provided in solar and heat pump technologies. Andrew Brownlee, CEO of the State-run further training and education agency Solas, said the programmes would prove “essential in the green transition and in realising climate action targets”. He added that there will be two additional centres to come later this year.

Retrofitting and making homes and buildings more environmentally sound was mentioned in the Government’s most recent iteration of its Climate Action Plan 2023. The new plan was unveiled in December.

The retrofitting for homes and businesses scheme is targeting 120,000 buildings to reach BER B2 by 2025 and 500,000 by 2030.

A report from April of this year found that Ireland will need to improve on its current retrofitting performance if there is to be any lasting change. The University College Dublin study claimed that even when scaled up Ireland’s retrofitting plans are unlikely to meet targets.

Speaking at the opening of the Cork centre yesterday, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris, TD, urged people to consider enrolling in one of the courses.

“These courses are fast, flexible and free. I would encourage anyone working in construction to future proof their qualifications and take up one of these courses.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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