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We’re working with partners to train students in retrofitting as part of our social housing decarbonisation project

The next generation of retrofit experts are learning their trade while working on our homes as part of our latest social housing decarbonisation project.

We’re working with contractors Westdale Midlands Ltd and staff at Coventry College to train students on how to carry out retrofit works such as installing external wall insulation

Their practical learning takes place by carrying work out on our homes as part of energy improvement works to 2,000 homes across Coventry. This is wave two of the social housing decarbonisation fund.

Prior to this learning, the students will have completed a Green Skills Insulation Bootcamp at Coventry College and when this is finalised, they have an interview with Westdale. If successful, they are able to carry out further skills training at the Westdale training academy based in Coventry and work on our homes through the sector-based Work Academy Programme.

Our director of asset management Bridget Guilfoyle said: “We’re so pleased to be working with Westdale Midlands and Coventry College to help train the next generation of people who will be retrofitting our homes.

“The students will be working on our social housing decarbonisation fund wave two homes, and they will get lots of opportunities to learn on the job. We are thrilled to be part of a project which helps support people learn new skills in retrofitting.

“The project also gives employment and training opportunities, for all the related specialist contractors and surveyors that we need to deliver a project of this scale.

“We’re also really proud that we have been successful with Coventry City Council in our bid to wave two of the social housing decarbonisation fund, which will help us deliver more energy efficient homes and will support our customers in keeping their homes warm.”

Works as part of wave two of the social housing decarbonisation fund will take place over the next two years and improve the energy performance rating of a home to EPC C.

Liam Pollard, who took part in the course, said: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to train with Westdale Midlands who allocated me to an existing crew of operatives. Having successfully completed a period on site working with this crew, I have now gained full time employment on the Coventry Wave Two site.

“For anybody looking for a great new opportunity to learn new skills and a trade, I would strongly recommend getting in touch with Westdale so they can also gain the same opportunities.”

Director of Westdale Midlands Adrian Bishop said: “We are proud to be part of such a strong team working across and for the benefit of the community of Coventry. It is a great outcome for Westdale Midlands that we are able to provide a vehicle for maximising outcomes through a training academy which results in giving others the opportunity of full-time employment.”

Vice Principal Business Growth, Engagement and Partnerships, Gemma Knott said: “Coventry College is proud to be demonstrating innovation and to show that it is meeting the skills needs of large employers such as Westdale and Citizen by developing a high quality series of bootcamps in insulation training using its funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority.

“We have recently submitted a bid to the Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition to help us to further scale up our training to support the zero carbon initiatives and targets set by central government.”

We partnered with Coventry City Council in submitting the bid to the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero (formally known as the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy – BEIS).

Cllr David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, added: “I’ve said many times that we are committed to working with our partners to raise housing standards across the city and projects like this are essential and have a positive impact on communities.

“We want to keep delivering transformative schemes that can improve people’s lives, helping to move people out of fuel poverty, and I’m delighted that this is creating vital opportunities to local Coventry College students.”

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “This is an excellent project, because it is helping the city to tackle climate change while providing new skills and job opportunities for Coventry College students, both are equally crucial.

“The council has also recently developed a new Strategic Energy Partnership so we are aiming to develop a number of schemes to drive a new green economy that will bring jobs and skills for generations to come.”

Director of GJK consultants, Gareth Keith, who provides strategic management services delivering SHDF programmes said: “Organisations often identify the need but fail to provide opportunities to train local people in delivering these type projects because they either don’t last long enough or priorities change.  Through close collaboration between all stakeholders and an innovative approach, it’s great to see how this project is providing skills and real-life experiences to young, local people, which will benefit them and the green economy long into the future. Training and education is such an important outcome for any largescale decarbonisation programme and it also improves the socio-economic environment in the locality”.

The current cohort of students started working on Citizen homes at the end of August.

For media enquiries contact our Communications Team.

Liam Certificate Westdale Web