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Innovation Centre helps deliver construction skills and training for Net Zero

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UWTSD’s Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) is playing its part by delivering emerging skills and training initiatives to ensure the UK and Welsh government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is on track.

The construction industry will require the equivalent of 350,000 new roles to be created by 2028 and these will need to be found through a mix of new skilled jobs, increased efficiencies in existing roles, and innovation in how the industry decarbonises the built environment. That’s the key finding of Building Skills for Net Zero, published by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Collaborative work is already being carried out by CWIC to ensure the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions.

A pan-Wales enterprise led by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Group and involving Coleg Sir Gar, Coleg Ceredigion, Coleg y Cymoedd and Coleg Cambria is ensuring that the Welsh construction sector has ready access to innovative training solutions nationally across Wales.

The hub and spoke delivery model of CWIC uses employer intelligence to make sure the right skills are in place to meet the current and future industry demand both reactively and proactively.

Spokes provide an integrated career development pathway between operatives, trades, and professional construction occupations, under guidance provided by the Swansea-based Hub. They actively work together and share best practices. This is contributing to new levels of collaborative working between the education sector (schools, FE, HE, and private providers) and the construction industry.

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The CWIC building at Swansea’s SA1 waterfront (Image: UWTSD)

Gareth Wyn Evans, Construction Wales Innovation Centre Manager said: “The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) has been at the forefront of developing and delivering emerging skills and training initiatives in construction since its inception in September 2016.  CWIC’s Net Zero Skills Strategy is underpinned by a large amount of research and extensive industry engagement relating to the continued drive for modernisation and decarbonisation within the sector.  Welsh industry has a significant challenge in working towards Net Zero and CWIC’s work certainly shows how we can drive forward our industry and tackle the challenge head on.

“A big part of it will be upskilling the current and future workforce so that they all understand what Net-Zero construction means for the industry.

“To enable this, we at CWIC, in collaboration with Coleg Sir Gar are delivering a number of skills initiatives in areas such as Building Information Modelling and Drone Technology. Most recently, we have worked with a number of sector leading providers to develop a range of Retrofit programmes fit for Welsh Industry.  These programmes will be live in coming weeks and will give Welsh Industry direct access to the courses and qualifications delivered by Industry Experts.  This enables us to play our part in future-proofing construction skills.”

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UK construction contributes approximately 40% of the UK’s emissions according to the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) and reducing this to Net Zero represents a huge challenge. Yet the move to cleaner, greener construction presents big opportunities to make the industry more attractive to new recruits and upskill the existing workforce.

A critical element of achieving Net Zero will be reducing carbon emissions from existing buildings. Across the UK 80% of buildings in use in 2050 have already been built and these could represent 95% of future built environment emissions. Reducing emissions to Net Zero will require retrofit work on up to 27 million domestic and 2 million non-domestic buildings.

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CITB has modelled the skills profile of the workforce needed to deliver Net Zero using data from the Climate Change Committee (CCC). This shows that by 2028, additional decarbonisation work will have created the demand for 86,000 construction project managers, 33,000 building envelope specialists and 59,000 plumbers and HVAC specialists.

This opportunity comes alongside the COVID-19 pandemic and an expected rise in unemployed workers coming from other sectors. This is a perfect time for the construction to position itself as a career destination of choice for people who really want to make a difference.

CITB’s research shows that reducing built environment emissions to Net Zero can be achieved if there is an industry-wide investment in skills, far-reaching skills policy reform and an unprecedented recruitment drive. The challenge is great, but so are the rewards, giving thousands of people new career opportunities as we emerge from a time of national crisis.

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CITB Strategy and Policy Director Steve Radley said: “Net Zero presents a huge challenge for construction but an even greater opportunity to create a more productive industry that’s also a more attractive career option. 

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“We can get there by being clear on the key skills we’ll need, making sure we have the right courses and qualifications to deliver them and getting on with investing in them. Industry is already delivering what is needed, but it needs to happen at scale. The training sector must act now as employers’ needs will change fast. A joined-up approach to skills across the built environment is key.

“Government also has a key role in specifying what it wants and creating the pipeline of demand that will give industry the confidence to invest in the skills we need and for providers to invest in the courses we need to deliver these skills.” 

The CITB’s report is published to compliment the CLC Skills Plan, which sets out industry action to modernise and decarbonise skills, and CO2nstructZero, a collaborative industry change programme to deliver Net Zero.

Find out more here:  https://cwic.wales/cwic-events/

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Carmarthenshire

Residents encouraged to have say on Teifi Valley flooding schemes

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Consultation on flood prevention schemes by Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion councils in the Teifi Valley has been extended to August 31 to give more residents an opportunity to have their say.

Face-to-face events in Llandysul and Llynybydder have been added to the previous online only consultation.

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Residents can visit the powerhouse in Llandysul on Wednesday 24 August between 10am and 1pm, or between 3pm and 6pm. There’s also an event at Llanybydder RFC on Thursday 25 August between 10am and 1pm, and also between 3pm and 6pm.

Officers from Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils and Natural Resources Wales will be in attendance to answer any queries along with a representative from the consultants appointed by both authorities.

The council’s say that all partners involved want to understand the impact that flooding has on communities, how the flooding happens and to assess different flood measures that will reduce the impact during increasingly stormy weather in the future.

People will be able to submit feedback in person by writing their comments down and putting them in the box located at the venues. This will be in addition to the comments and suggestions submitted during the online consultation process.

The councils say that feedback from the consultation and these events will feed into the next stage of work and form part of any decision making that Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government will undertake to design and implement any flood risk reduction scheme.

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Carmarthenshire County Council’s  Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services Cllr Edward Thomas said: “We want as much feedback as possible from residents so that together we can look further into the options available to us to manage flood risk in these communities. The drop-in events will provide an opportunity for residents to speak to officers about the different options available and the next steps.”

Ceredigion County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Environmental Services and Carbon Management Keith Henson said: “We encourage the residents of Llandysul, Pont-Tyweli and Llanybydder to have their say in this consultation, either by attending the in-person events at the said locations or by visiting the online link on the council’s website. The responses from this consultation will enable us and our partners to explore what options we have to manage flood risk in the Teifi Valley.”

Lead image: Humphrey Bolton / Geograph)

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Environment

Swansea University named one of country’s best green spaces

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The spectacular and diverse grounds of Swansea University’s two campuses have once again been judged among the best green spaces in Wales.

The University is celebrating after being awarded a Green Flag, the international mark of a quality park or green space and recognises excellent visitor facilities, high environmental standards, and a commitment to delivering great quality green space.

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It has also retained its Green Heritage Site Accreditation which it gained for the first time last year. This special award, endorsed by Cadw, recognises sites that are both historically significant and meet Green Flag criteria.

Grounds manager Paul Edwards paid tribute to his teams’ efforts at both University campuses: “We are immensely proud to have retained both the Green Flag and Heritage Award status. Our sites offer very different challenges and rewards and it is through the hard work and dedication of the team that both are to the highest standards for the enjoyment of our students, staff and visitors.

“The grounds team’s in-depth knowledge ensures that the historic nature of the Singleton site and the beachside setting of the Bay Campus will continue to be preserved and enhanced for future generations.”

Swansea University received a Green Flag Award for its two campuses

Swansea University Registrar and Chief Operating Officer Niamh Lamond said: “We are extremely pleased to have retained the Green Flag Award for five consecutive years. This recognises the hard work and commitment of our outstanding grounds’ team in developing and managing our green spaces in a sustainable manner, whilst appreciating the historic and scientific nature of these spaces.

“Our grounds and gardens are important to the wellbeing of our staff, students and local communities and valued immensely by the University.”

This year the University is among 265 green spaces – ranging from formal gardens and parks to allotments and churchyards – across the country have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award.

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The Green Flag Award programme is delivered in Wales by environmental charity Keep Wales Tidy, with support from Welsh Government. Each site was visited by expert judges who looked at criteria including biodiversity, cleanliness, environmental management, and community involvement.

Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “Our local green spaces have a vital role to play in connecting us to nature. These awards go to prove that Wales’ parks and similar areas are doing a wonderful job in providing quality places to relax and enjoy.”

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said: “With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

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Carmarthenshire

Carmarthenshire council opens ‘Re-use village’ in Nantycaws

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Carmarthenshire County Council and CWM Environmental Ltd have officially opened Canolfan Eto, a brand-new re-use village in Nantycaws which the council says aims to help close the loop on waste in the county and give a new lease of life to unwanted items.

Canolfan Eto offers a sustainable shopping experience to customers looking to purchase a wide range of items including furniture, bicycles, paint, gardening items and much more.

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An education centre will soon host sessions for school pupils covering a range of environmental topics including; the importance of recycling, what happens to waste at recycling centres, how pollinators help us and how to support a circular economy in Carmarthenshire.

Cllr Aled Vaughan Owen, Cabinet Member for climate change, decarbonisation and sustainability said: “The opening of Canolfan Eto in Nantycaws marks an exciting step in the expansion of the Eto project as well as the growth of sustainability in Carmarthenshire.”

“With an on-site repair workshop to transform donations, the project looks to repair and re-use items to keep them in use for as long as possible.”

Cllr Edward Thomas, Cabinet Member for transport, waste and infrastructure services said: “Canolfan Eto will provide opportunities for residents and visitors to purchase a wide range of donated items that have been repaired and re-used by the project; helping to reduce the number of items that enter into the waste stream.”

The Eto project also includes a shop located in Stepney Street, Llanelli town centre which opened in 2021.

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Donation stations are available at all of Carmarthenshire’s household waste recycling centres, where residents can donate items to the project.

The council says that Eto means ‘again’ and symbolises its ambition of a circular economy. It adds that Canolfan Eto will encourage visitors to purchase and donate previously used items rather than buying new whenever possible. The council say that the project will also help to achieve Carmarthenshire’s ambition of delivering a circular economy throughout the county as well as becoming a leader in recycling and re-use within Wales.

A circular economy focuses on eliminating waste by cutting down on throw away consumption and turning materials that would have previously been disposed of into a valuable resource. 

This project has been funded through Welsh Government’s Circular Economy fund. 

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