By Gerry Ruffles (pictured above), Head of Education for MOBIE with responsibility for MOBIE’s range of courses, training programmes and design challenges.
MOBIE and Pearson BTEC have partnered to create four exciting units for the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Construction and the Built Environment. These units explore efficient modern methods of construction and place emphasis on quality, performance, energy efficiency, sustainability and future digital technologies.
The importance of teaching sustainability in construction
Meeting the challenges of climate change and decarbonisation is critical. Our buildings account for 40% of CO2 emissions, therefore it is imperative that we invest in zero carbon homes and update the country’s 27 million homes to be efficient and ecological. The government agrees, with its Build Back Better campaign stating that the UK will have ‘the most efficient, technologically advanced and sustainable construction sector in the world’. The government have also committed to reducing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
This promise not only calls for modernisation of materials and energy efficiencies but also greater understanding and take up of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). If these aims are to be achieved, we must start with educating and training young people who will lead and manage the future of the construction industry. Through collaborative and innovative education and training we can bring young people’s ambitions and the country’s needs to the forefront.
Breaking stereotypes and reaching new kinds of learners
Construction and the Built Environment has not always been perceived as the most auspicious and inspiring career industry for school leavers as there is limited awareness towards the varied and exciting jobs available, as well as longstanding stereotypes about construction workers and lack of diversity.
This is totally at odds with meeting the future needs and opportunities within the sector. We must inform and attract new types of learners to construction and show that the industry now has a place for those interested in all aspects of modern technology, IT and digital skills and solutions. To ensure this, our centres, courses and tutors must equip learners with the resources needed to understand and practise digital technologies like Building Information Modelling, VR and AI.
Collaboration between MOBIE and Pearson BTEC
MOBIE, Ministry of Building Innovation and Education, was established by architect and TV presenter, George Clarke in 2017. With its education partners, MOBIE aims to inspire and educate young people to revolutionise the way they think about homes and how they want to live now and in the future.
MOBIE have worked with Pearson BTEC and industry partners to provide optional units for the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Construction and the Built Environment, creating four units specifically for the housing sector. These units focus on innovative and future-proofed housing design, the use of renewable energy in housing, offsite and onsite alternative construction methods, and sustainability in the housing industry.
MOBIE and Pearson BTEC have further updated specifications, with changes taking effect from September 2022, which include the critical retrofit agenda, digital design technology and knowledge of the latest innovative materials and methods such as smart roofing materials, smart glass, SIPS panels, awareness of advancements in relevant manufacturing technologies such as robotics and 3D printing and the increasing integration of manufacturing with design and build in the sector. Pearson BTEC will also be offering a new Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Modern Methods of Construction, approved by IFATE and available for delivery in 2023.