First results of the Bus.Trainers Project about the lacks of “green” skills of VET trainers in the construction

One of the five priority objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the axis about “climate change and energy”, decisively marks a turn in the European Union towards a “green” economy.

In fact, since the original commitments assumed by the members (20% of reduction of greenhouse effect, in relation with the 1990 levels, 20% of renewal energy and an increase on 20% of energy efficient), the goal have changed for 2030 (at least 40% of reduction in greenhouse effect, in relation with 1990 levels, at least 27% of renewal energy and 27% of improvement in energy efficient) This “waybill” guide us to a low-carbon competitive economy for 2050, which considerates more the weather and consumes less energy (80% of reduction of greenhouse effect, in relation with 1990 levels, going to reach a 60% by 2024).

With the contribution of all the sectors, The European Union assures that this transition is feasible and financially possible. But this transition to an “ecological” European economy would have serious effect in the labor market, and in the development of skills in European professionals who would have to be prepared with news competences.

‘Green’ skills

In its research, the Bus.Trainer project detected some learning gaps about energy renewal and renewal energy system, called “green” by the Vocational and Professional training (VET) trainers of the construction industry in Europe, among which, highlighted those related to certification schemes sustainable buildings, volunteer environmental labelling and new technologies.

These first results are: a «Report about the gaps in “green” skills of VET trainers in the construction industry» and a «Map and perimeter of the final green skills», available in English and soon in Spanish, which analyze the data compiled by the eleven partners from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Malta.

The report identify the training gaps faced by the trainers during the teaching of energy efficient (EE) and renewal energy system (RES) in the sector. Also the gaps between real and necessary knowledge in “green skills”, and it is also addressed other type of pedagogical and crosscutting needs.

Participation of nearly 500 European trainers

Almost 500 European trainers participated in these researches, which has been done through a mixed methodology of World Café, an experimental and documental analysis, an on-line survey filled by 461 trainers, and a semi structure interview answered by 30 people.

Clearly, the results show how important it is for trainers to be aware of the construction sustainability, as well as the need of a new attitude of the trainer about the digital revolution.

Besides, the results meet the objectives of this project lead by Fundación Laboral de la Construcción which is producing open teaching content aimed to train in construction sustainability, using mobile and e-learning.

Both documents will be used to design a new European sectorial qualification and training content for VET trainers involved in the construction industry, which will have competences for the promotion of EE and RES in buildings, the current phase the partners of Bus.Trainers are working on.

After this first drive, the results point that trainers of levels III, II, I are the main preferential “niche” for this project, according to the European Qualification Framework, because they may have bigger needs training.

However, the trainers of levels IV and V, which are not considered as a preferential group for this initiative because they are experts in the subject, will be able to test and verify their knowledge in the Bus.Trainer qualification system that will be created in this project, to check if they must learn or not additional specific skills in order to cover the potential competences. This training will also be provided by the system.

Five areas, each one of them with a series of competences

The subjects have been divided in five areas: 1) Legislation, Certification and Labelling, 2) Materials, Water and Construction Techniques, 3) Energy Efficient and Renewal Energy System 3) Design and Project Managing and 5) Information and Communication Technologies. And each one of them has been identify with a series of related competences.

In terms of green skills needs we can conclude trainers must improve their knowledge in subjects like Legislation, Certification and Labelling, and also Design and Project Managing. But it seems like trainers are more familiar with subjects like Energy Efficient and Information and Communication Technologies, showing a major ability to teach them.

On the other hand, the competences with higher values of training for trainers, due to their difficulty, are the following: standardization of sustainable construction, sustainable building system of certification, voluntary environmental labeling, new technologies, recycling of Construction Waste and Demolition (CWD), deconstruction, Micro-Wind system for construction and self-consumption, biomass for water heating, biomass for space heating, perspective of life cycle, life cycle expenses, integration, communication strategy, conflict’s resolution and mediation and strategies of motivation. Therefore, they are reflected as knowledge and skills that should be add in the new qualification.

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Methodological analysis of Green skills and study of Bus.Trainers qualification