A new report highlights the technical skills that are needed if the North East’s green ambitions are to be met.

Research alongside the report for the Institutes of Technology also shows the extent of the region’s demand for sustainable living, with the majority considering a home to be worth more money if it is sustainably constructed.

The report, called ‘The skills to succeed’, looks at a range of challenges, including sustainable construction and energy, and outlines that a workforce with the right technical skills are needed to make it a reality. For instance, waste is a major issue in the construction industry, generating around three fifths of total UK waste in 2018.

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Modern methods of construction like BIM (Building Information Modelling) can make the process more efficient as a lot of the planning and preparation work can be done digitally, but more workers with the skillset to use and read the equipment are needed. Additionally, employment in the wind industry is expected to grow by 170% by 2026, so a pipeline of talent with the skills to work with offshore wind energy technology is needed.

Further research shows a clear appetite for greener living - while the majority of people in the North East currently use electricity (79%) and gas (80%), if cost wasn’t a factor 54% would opt for renewable sources of energy. Furthermore, people in the North East would rather have good insulation (45%) in their next home than plentiful built-in storage (43%) or an entertaining space (21%).

The North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT) is part of a new national network of regional partnerships between local colleges, universities and leading employers across England, created to ensure the technical skills and knowledge needed to overcome the biggest challenges communities face are accessible to all.

IoTs provide training in STEM-based occupations, many of which address sustainability demands facing the country, such as in energy, construction and agritech industries. Their work is increasing the accessibility of vital expertise for employers seeking to embrace innovation.

Mark Anderson, Strategic Lead for North East Institute of Technology, says: “The work we are doing across the network is vital to address the increasing demand for sustainability across the region and nation. By working closely with our region’s employers to train their workforce and future workforce for the needs of industry both now and in the future, we can be pioneers of training for key forces for change such as sustainable construction methods and efficient energy sources. We are able to support industry as it works to deliver for consumer and business demands.”

Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, says: “Institutes of Technology are not only playing a critical role in helping to close skills gaps in key sectors such as sustainable construction, but crucially, they are providing people with high quality technical training that leads to good jobs, helping to level up opportunity across our country.

“The need to support sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital looks set to only grow and with their close ties to employers, Institutes of Technology will be the driving force behind ensuring the workforce is ready for future technological change and changing working practices.”

As well as covering Energy, Construction and Skills, the report also looks at challenges around Cyber, Electric Vehicles and Agriculture.

Full report at bit.ly/neiotreport