Construction’s role in the greatest challenge of our time
"The era of global boiling has arrived."
If ever a phrase brought home the danger of not meeting net zero targets, then this recent quote, from UN secretary general, António Guterres, is it.
The environment is a passion of mine on a professional and personal level as readers of my blogs will know.
Climate change affects us all and its increasing impact is obvious.
In this blog I will share recent facts on climate change. I will also outline how CITB is working with industry, Governments and training providers to serve the public on the most pressing issue of our time.
The temperatures reported across Europe this summer are worrying. The facts speak for themselves.
At the start of July, the world’s average temperature reached a new high, exceeding 17 degrees Celsius for the first time.
A few weeks later, China recorded its highest temperature, a blistering 52.2C.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, global average daily sea surface temperatures reached their highest level, 20.96C.
News reports on droughts, severe fires, rising sea levels, melting polar ice and declining biodiversity are becoming commonplace. However, despite alarming evidence there are people who think there is nothing to be concerned about. I disagree.
Inaction, while the world burns, is not an option. Urgent action is required which is why I believe that every construction job is a green job.
I also think that construction has a huge part to play in tackling the biggest global problem of our time.
The solutions construction can bring to climate change is one of our industry’s most appealing aspects.
Imagine working on innovative projects that harness earth's natural resources. And think of the job satisfaction from work that will benefit this and future generations.
What a meaningful way to earn a living. Construction offers that opportunity.
I am privileged to be in a job I love, leading an organisation whose mission is to empower existing workers - and new entrants - with the green construction skills, training and tools required to transition towards a net zero future.
The UK government has set a path to net zero by 2050 (Wales and Scotland’s governments 2050 and 2045 respectively) CITB has ambitious external and internal plans, too.
As part of our work, we have updated our Net Zero Action Plan which was first published in September 2022.
The plan details the steps we are taking to lay foundations that will support industry in the coming years and focusses on four key areas.
- Research and analysis: building an understanding of the skills industry needs.
- Standards and guidelines: Ensuring they give clarity to industry, workers and training providers and ultimately lead to qualifications.
- Training: Investing to ensure the right skills are available in the right place.
- Collaboration: Working with governments and industry partners to put the right support and investment in place.
Investment to upskill the workforce is essential to decarbonising. A long-term pipeline of work is crucial, too, because it gives business and training providers the confidence to invest in skills and training.
Current data tells us that 40% of the UK emissions come from the built environment meaning the construction industry has a huge role to play in helping the UK reach net zero.
I’m pleased to say industry is making headway. Construction employers recognise the need to decarbonise – with three-quarters of them saying it’s important to them or their company. But we all need to move faster.
I know times are hard, but I urge all construction companies to invest for prosperity and the good of society. Our Skills and Training Fund is a great place to start on investment.
A new collaborative guide, When Challenge Becomes Opportunity also sets out why investing in skills can reap long-term rewards. These resources have information for employers on the range of support available.
Our Net Zero Action Plan is one aspect of our work on sustainability. CITB is also:
- Supporting the creation, alongside the Green Jobs Delivery Group, of up to 480,000 skilled green jobs in England by 2030.
- Sponsoring the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Hub.
- Part of the Skills for a Sustainable Skyline Taskforce. The taskforce’s aim is to address skills gaps around the construction, retrofit and maintenance of low carbon commercial buildings in Central London boroughs.
CITB is also keen to contribute to greater sustainability efforts as an organisation. Volunteering offers multiple benefits, which is why I am encouraging colleagues to spend two days a year helping their community individually or as a team. CITB has Green Champions to support the organisation to make sustainable choices.
As leader of CITB, I feel a deep responsibility to ensure we operate in a way my grandchildren would want me to.
I want to help ensure that the world we leave them is one they can enjoy in the same way my generation has.
CITB’s goal is to ensure employers and their workforce thrive in a net zero economy. By collaborating on a Herculean scale, the construction industry can help turn the tide.
I am positive about the progress being made and am looking forward to seeing further impact in the coming years.
If you would like to share your views, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Go Construct website lists the range of construction jobs available for a fulfilling career in our industry.