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Net zero action plan 

Our mission is to empower the construction industry with the skills, training and tools required to transition towards a net zero future. 

On this page: 


Net zero means achieving a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. The best way to become net zero is by reducing our emissions as much as possible. 

The UK Government has set a path to net zero by 2050. The devolved Governments in Wales and Scotland have set targets to 2050 and 2045 respectively. 

Construction is a significant contributor to carbon emissions in the UK:

  • 40% of UK emissions are from the built environment
  • 80% of the buildings in use in 2050 are already built
  • 27 million homes and 2 million other buildings require retrofitting.

This means the construction industry has a big role to play in helping the UK reach net zero.  Read our 'What is net zero?' blog.

Plan overview 

Addressing skills needs, both now and in the future, is key to achieving net zero. We are working with industry to make sure that employers and the workforce are well prepared, with the right training in place. 

This action plan summarises CITB’s response to the net zero challenge, explaining the steps we are taking to establish the foundations that will support the industry over the coming years as it gears up to decarbonise. 

We’re developing new standards and qualifications, targeting funding towards net zero priority skill areas, and undertaking research – nationally and regionally – to identify future skills needs.  

Crucially, this plan is dynamic and long-term. It will develop as it becomes clearer where the skills demands are. 

The early stages of the plan are focused on four key areas: 

  • Research and analysis: building an understanding of the skills industry needs 
  • Standards and guidelines: making sure they give clarity to industry, workers, and training providers and ultimately lead to qualifications 
  • Training: investing across industry to ensure the right skills are available in the right place 
  • Collaboration: working with Governments and industry partners to put in place the right support and investment. 

This aligns with our wider goals set out in our Business Plan

Roadmap to net zero 

Preparing for the path to net zero is a challenge, but also a huge opportunity for the construction industry. It will have a large impact on businesses of all sizes, but new demands can be met with a new set of skills and services. 

This is an overview of our ongoing work, as well as how we are helping industry futureproof for net zero. 

Current activities


We are working with industry to prioritise UK retrofit skills needs by: 

  • Continuing to offer grants for a variety of training and qualifications including retrofit co-ordinator, assessor and insulation installation 
  • Ensuring training pathways are clear and qualifications are fit for purpose 
  • Working closely with Government and industry so training is available to meet emerging and anticipated demand. 


We are improving the accessibility and quality of training by: 

  • Improving training pathways through developing new competency frameworks 
  • Providing targeted uplift of grants for priority skills occupations.  

Routes to Competence  

Routes to Competence map the training and assessment pathways different groups of learners should take to reach competence and address any gaps within the training and qualifications available. 

We influence the Working Groups to make necessary changes to occupational or training standards, improve the content or delivery of qualifications and training, or, in exceptional circumstances, directly develop a new product, such as fire safety awareness training. 

Current occupations we are looking at are: 

  • Bricklaying 
  • Carpentry & Joinery 
  • Cladding 
  • Drylining 
  • Leadership & Management 
  • Painting & Decorating 
  • Plastering 
  • Retrofit Roofing 
  • Retrofit Insulation and Building Treatment 
  • Wall & Floor Tiling. 


We’ll conduct research to better understand the skills industry needs to deliver against net zero and where to target our support.  

Using our Labour Forecasting Tool, we plan to start regional analysis on the need for net zero and retrofit skills to help better inform industry on regional training needs. 

We have started work on a Sustainability Strategy, which covers our internal environmental policy and is due to be published by the end of 2023. 

Working with our partners 

Alongside Combined Authorities and local Government, we develop local level evidence bases to support local skills plans and meet local industry needs. We also influence national Governments on skills policy to meet the industry’s long-term net zero needs.  

We help training providers, industry and federations to understand evolving net zero skills needs and barriers to net zero training. We will also work with training providers to support their understanding of the requirements for any changing standards in response to net zero. 

We are sponsoring the Construction Leadership Council’s (CLC) National Retrofit Hub, a non-profit programme which addresses the complex challenges of retrofit by bringing together all stakeholders across the UK to support local retrofit delivery. 

We are working with the Future Homes Hub, the Gatsby Foundation and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVMC) to develop research examining the potential impact of the Future Homes Standard on the newbuild housing sector. 

Future plans

Ultimately, our goal is to ensure employers and their workforce have the skills, training and tools in place to thrive in a net zero economy.  


We will work to improve qualifications and training pathways to support roles central to net zero, such as the retrofitting of existing buildings and installation of energy efficient measures, by ensuring: 

  • They are clearly identifiable, fit for purpose and readily available 
  • Employers can access the appropriate training in a location and format that suits them 
  • Training is delivered by a quality assured network of providers 
  • The content and delivery of training reflects changing skills needs. 

We will also work to enhance our existing training offer, including: 

  • Improvements to the Training Directory/Register 
  • Improvements to Grants and Funding 
  • Extension of Employer Networks. 

Standards and qualifications 

We will develop and update standards to include net zero and sustainability with a particular focus on:    

  • National Occupational Standards 
  • Short duration training standards 
  • Apprenticeships, working with IfATE.   

Funding support  

We will target funding at currently known and understood priority skill areas such as L5 retrofit co-ordinators and insulation installation skills.  

Additional net zero priority skill areas that are identified will also receive targeted funding, including geographically targeted funding if appropriate. 

Support tools 

The CITB Labour Forecasting Tool will be updated with the capability to build scenarios for sub regional geographic areas of the skills demand associated with different regional retrofit strategies. This will support local Government, employers and training providers in developing their own retrofit skills plans. 

Across the nations 


We represent the construction industry on the Green Jobs Delivery Group, which supports the creation of up to 480,000 skilled green jobs in England by 2030. We are working with our partners to develop a process by which individuals can be classed as having the necessary skills and qualifications to be counted as net zero ready. We’ve also engaged with the Energy Efficiency Taskforce on the need for a long-term pipeline of demand to give employers and training providers confidence to invest in the necessary skills and training.  


We are a member of Skills Development Scotland’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP) Heat Decarbonisation Sub-Group. The Sub-Group builds evidence on the opportunities and barriers to increasing the number and type of entry level roles in heat decarbonisation, while building provision to cover key upskilling and reskilling gaps. 


We are a member of the Welsh Government’s Decarbonisation Implementation Group, which establishes the key skills requirements to make all buildings as efficient as possible. Additionally, we’ve helped the Welsh Government develop their Net Zero Skills Action Plan, providing expertise on the skills system and ensuring the industry’s views are heard.  

CITB support  

CITB offers a wide range of funding and support for construction employers. To access it, make sure you’re registered with CITB and up to date with your Levy Return

Short courses:

  • Retrofit for older and traditional buildings
  • Retrofit insulation masterclass
  • Residential ventilation masterclass
  • Thermography introduction
  • Understanding traditional building construction principles
  • Legal aspects; survey methodology and report writing for waterproofing
  • PCA qualified technician training (damp and timber)
  • PCA qualified technician training (structural waterproofing)
  • Certificated surveyor in structural waterproofing (CSSW) examination preparation
  • Certificated surveyor of timber and dampness in buildings (CSTDB) examination preparation
  • Waterproofing introduction
  • Wood identification for the infestation surveyor
  • Surveying timber and dampness in buildings
  • Surveyor in structural waterproofing.

Short Qualifications:

  • Retrofit Coordination and Risk Management Level 5 Diploma
  • Insulation and Building Treatments (Construction) NVQ certificate, NVQ diploma (Level 2 and 3) / SVQ (Scotland) Level 5
  • Thermal Insulation (Construction) NVQ (Level 2 and 3) / Diploma / SVQ (Scotland) Level 5
  • Understanding Domestic Retrofit – Level 2 award
  • Energy Efficiency for Older and Traditional Buildings – Level 3 award
  • Retrofit - Level 2 award/certificate/VQ
  • Green Ambassador within the Retrofit Sector – Level 2 award
  • Green Ambassador within the Construction Industry – Level 2 award
  • Construction and Building Services Management and Supervision (Sustainability) – Level 4 Diploma/VQ
  • Construction Management (Sustainability) – Level 5 Diploma/VQ
  • Designing, Engineering and Constructing a Sustainable Built Environment – Level 3 diploma
  • Sustainable Construction – Level 3 Diploma.

Long Qualifications:

  • Design and Construction of Zero Carbon and Ultra-Low Energy Buildings MSc
  • Green Building MSc/PG Cert/PG Diploma
  • Sustainable Architectural Studies MSc
  • Sustainable Building Conservation MSc
  • Sustainable Civil and Structural Engineering MSc
  • Sustainable Construction MSc/BSc/FdSc/HNC/HND
  • Sustainable Mega Buildings MSc
  • Architecture and Sustainability MSc
  • Architecture and the Sustainable Environment MSc
  • Structural Design and Construction Management with Sustainability MSc.

Site Environmental Awareness Training Scheme (SEATS)

This one-day interactive course has been developed for site supervisors/managers with the aim of providing an introduction to environmental issues on construction sites. It teaches learners up to date environmental and sustainability knowledge by giving a thorough overview of the subject, relevant legislation and industry best practice.

Skills and Training Fund provides grants of up to £25,000 for businesses with up to 250 employees. This includes training to upskill your workforce to meet the requirements of net zero. 

Employer Network Pilot a collective of employers within certain areas, members of the decide how and where CITB funds are spent. This can be on skills needed now or in the future – with many members investing in training for net zero requirements.

Retrofit pathways have been developed for the National Occupational Standards (NOS) of: 

  • Construction Site Management 
  • Construction Site Supervision. 

Training standards developed in line with net zero requirements for insulation and building treatments NOS. 

All occupational reviews incorporate net zero. If there is a gap it will be added in as part of the implementation plan, and if necessary, additional NOS or training standards will be developed to meet that gap. 

Building Skills for Net Zero, published in 2021, used the Climate Change Committee’s data to define a skills route map for the construction industry, which identifies the roles and expertise teams need to meet net zero requirements across the UK. 

Net Zero and Construction – Perspective and Pathways having identified that the retrofit of existing buildings would present a sizeable challenge to achieving the UK Government target of reaching net zero by 2050,this paper specifically analysed the skills implications relating to the retrofit of existing buildings. 

Supply Chain Sustainability School, part funded by CITB, offers a range of free training and development courses on sustainability and net zero, including topics such as Sustainability, Digital, FIR, Lean Construction, Management, Offsite, and People and Procurement. 

Fairness, Inclusion and Respect, developed in conjunction with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, the series of initiatives aims to increase the industry’s workforce by attracting workers from a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as fostering a more inclusive environment. 

Go Construct the home of construction careers information, advice and guidance, provides a comprehensive overview of the roles required for sustainable construction. 

Useful resources  


Supply Chain Sustainability School’s Carbon Calculator enables businesses to establish their carbon emissions as a first step to reducing them. 

Achieving net zero with BSI is a blog summarising all of the BSI standards applicable to the Built Environment. 

The LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide covers 5 key areas: operational energy, embodied carbon, the future of heat, demand response and data disclosure.  

Retrofit Academy offers free, downloadable guides on a range of retrofit topics to support employers and help them to address any potential skills gaps. 

Retrofit Careers Hub provides a virtual, interactive one-stop hub for employers, existing retrofit professionals and those looking to develop a career in retrofit. 

TrustMark’s PAS 2030 certification sets out the requirements for competence, technical ability and overall requirements for quality that all energy efficient installers must follow. 

The UK Green Building Council influences policy and provides resources to help the construction industry transition towards a greener, more sustainable future. 

Tools and Training 

STBA Retrofit Wheel tool is the backbone of the PAS2035 work in the UK. It allows you to choose your range of measures, categorises the risks associated and provides links to peer assessed research that has been produced.  

Net Zero Carbon Foundations by BRE introduces climate change and its local and global implications. It provides key definitions, whilst introducing the global policy landscape and pathways towards net-zero carbon. This course is open to anyone who works in the built environment or infrastructure and is passionate about sustainability.  

Resources for businesses operating in Scotland 

Traditional Buildings & Energy Efficiency Retrofit Guide describes retrofit measures which can be used to improve the energy efficiency of traditional buildings, whilst maintaining as much of their historic fabric and creating healthy indoor environments. 

The installer skills matrix, developed by the sector skills bodies, industry and other key stakeholders in Scotland is adopted and fully integrated into the relevant installer standards to reflect Scotland's skills needs. 

The Climate Action Hub is a free e-learning resource, developed by Scottish Business Climate Collaboration partners and delivered by Zero Waste Scotland, to help businesses understand the climate crisis, measure its impact and take action to reduce emissions. 

Skills Development Scotland’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan 2020 – 2025 focuses on immediate actions to support the development of the skills needed to meet the climate change challenge and longer-term actions that will allow the skills system to develop. 

Resources for businesses operating in Wales 

Working Together to Reach Net Zero is the Welsh Government's overarching plan to reach Net Zero across all industries and sectors. 

Optimised RetroFit Programme: training, produced by the Welsh Government, provides details of the qualifications available in a range of key disciplines to deliver Welsh Government's Optimised Retrofit Programme. It can be used by employers to help better understand the training landscape and any potential skills gaps in their business. 

The Net Zero Skills Action Plan sets out the Welsh Government’s approach to supporting the skills development of the workforce so they are ready and competent to assess, install and service sustainable and carbon neutral technologies, methods and innovations at scale.