Our adaptive curriculum is a model for upskilling and reskilling the UK

The north east’s innovative initiative for retrofitting marks a significant shift in curriculum development to meet local and national skills shortages

The north east’s innovative initiative for retrofitting marks a significant shift in curriculum development to meet local and national skills shortages

28 Mar 2024, 10:35

The North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT) with lead partner New College Durham and collaborating FE institutions Middlesbrough College, East Durham College, and Tyne Coast College, along with industry stalwart Esh Group, is pioneering a project, ‘Retrofitting for the North East’. an innovative initiative that promises to redefine the future of retrofitting across the region.

This transformative journey began with the recognition of a skills deficit within the retrofitting sector. Working closely with regional employers and education partners, NEIoT identified an urgent need for a highly skilled workforce capable of meeting the growing demand for energy-efficient and sustainable living environments.

Retrofitting has become a critical aspect of sustainable development, key to future-proofing homes and meeting our net-zero goals. This is leading to growing demand for skilled professionals such as retrofit installers, advisors, assessors and coordinators to transform existing properties.

The impact on the construction industry is significant; forecasts indicate a requirement for 500,000 skilled retrofit operatives by 2030. Employers will need to upskill and reskill significant numbers within their workforce, and retrofitting will be an essential aspect of young learners’ education.

With almost 3.4 million homes in the North East and Yorkshire Energy Hub areas outlined for domestic retrofit in the coming years, NEIoT’s adaptive approach not only aims to bridge the current skills gap but establish the groundwork for sustained industry-education relationships and continuing development of additional courses to meet future industry needs.

A pivotal aspect of this adaptive curriculum approach involves the engaged participation of members from the NEIoT Construction & Built Environment Employer Advisory Board. This board consists of representatives from the construction industry, including both SMEs and large companies, as well as associated employer representative bodies (ERBs).

We are establishing sustained industry-education relationships

These industry professionals offer invaluable insights, guidance and feedback to shape curriculum development and delivery. Regular meetings of the advisory board and retrofit sub-group facilitate knowledge-sharing sessions, cultivating a sense of community and shared responsibility to address the needs of learners and employers.

By integrating industry expertise, the NEIoT educational offerings will align with industry standards and best practices while incorporating the latest developments in retrofitting technologies and methodologies.

Working with organisations such as Green Leaf Engineering, North Star Housing, Livin Housing, believe housing, and Constructing Excellence North East, the NEIoT and Esh Group have ensured that the courses are not just theoretical; they will address the practical skills needs of the sector and offer mentorship opportunities.

Implementing this adaptable methodology has presented challenges, including navigating regulatory frameworks, securing buy-in from stakeholders and overcoming logistical hurdles. However, the relationships established through our collaborative efforts to overcome these have solidified our commitment and determination to succeed. The NEIoT consortium has embraced adaptability as a guiding principle, emerging stronger and more resilient.

A suite of nationally accredited courses has been meticulously developed to cover the retrofitting process. Delivery of NEIoT Retrofit Courses for Installers, Advisors, Assessors, and Coordinators ranging from level 2 to level 5 will start throughout 2024. These courses will be standardised in terms of delivery, cost and resources across all NEIoT campuses, ensuring a consistent regional experience.

Employers can be confident that their employees will gain from a high-quality, NEIoT-branded, accredited learning experience. And workers can be confident the skills and knowledge they gain will be industry-standard.

This initiative illustrates that tackling skills shortages is about more than just education; it’s about cultivating a community of proficient professionals to instigate change.

As the retrofit offer nears completion, NEIoT and Esh Group will be engaging in discussions on sharing course development and delivery across the National IoT Network, aiming for broader adoption and scalability of the adaptable methodology.

Backed by substantial government investment, these IoT collaborations between FE and HE providers and industry are leading the way in meeting business and education needs by establishing regional collaborations for skills excellence.

Embracing adaptability is indicative of a significant shift in education and workforce development to empower learners and innovate our way to resilience and excellence.

So connect with your local IoT, and start leading change in your community.

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *