Through its BUILD UP Skills initiative, the EU aims to equip the next generation of construction sector workers – from manual labourers to design professionals and senior management – with the skills and knowledge needed to ensure building and renovation projects meet stringent energy efficiency requirements.
Managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (EASME), BUILD UP Skills works on the increase in the number of qualified building professionals across Europe to deliver building renovations offering high-energy performance as well as new nearly zero-energy buildings.
Context and achievements
The building sector offers a large untapped potential for cost effective energy savings. Nearly Zero-Energy Building (NZEB) standards become a mandatory requirement in Europe as from 2020 and increasing the rate, quality and effectiveness of building renovation remains a challenge, since the current rate of renovation is only 1.2 % per year.
One important barrier that hampers the development of NZEBs and effective renovations is the lack of adequate construction skills, both in middle- and senior-level building professionals, as well as the various trade professionals in the area of sustainable energy efficient construction. It is against this background that the EU launched in 2011 the BUILD UP Skills initiative. It focused on the increase of the number of qualified trade professionals by developing national qualification platforms and roadmaps, and providing training in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy in buildings.
With the first calls in 2011 and 2012, projects across 30 countries were funded to map the skills gaps and needs in each country. Their work resulted in a National Roadmap, which includes the measures to overcome gaps and barriers in order to train the workforce and reach the 2020 targets, as formulated by the national platforms of projects and national stakeholder.
The scope of the initiative has been expanded to other building professionals under Horizon 2020, with projects developing multi-country qualification and training schemes and also address "white collar" professions (engineers, architects, building managers, etc). Around 25 000 professionals are expected to be trained through these projects. Actually, BUILD UP Skills does not aim to fund the actual running of training courses, only pilot trainings, that then need to be rolled-out through other means (national support, structural funds, commercial training, etc.).