South London Partnership secures funding to create much-needed retrofit skills plan for South London

The South London Partnership has secured transformational funding awarded by the Greater South East Net Zero Hub on behalf of the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero to develop a retrofit skills action plan for South London.

The sub-regional collaboration of six London Boroughs – Croydon, Kingston, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton, and Wandsworth – estimates that South London has over 635,000 properties to decarbonise. In reality, this would require approximately 66,250 person-years to deliver the interventions required to retrofit our buildings over the next 10 years.

Retrofitting is the process of installing new measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes, such as insulation and double-glazing or generating cleaner energy using solar panels, heat pumps and other technologies.

In phase one of the project, the funds will be used to create a retrofit skills action plan, which will identify the skills and interventions needed to ensure that South London can rapidly decarbonise its homes at scale in order to meet London’s 2030 Net Zero targets.

The second phase will see greater engagement with the supply chain, development of the further and higher education curriculum to upskill people for the green jobs of the future and implementation of retrofit skills innovation pilots.

The initial phase of the project has already included mapping the South London retrofit supply chain, identifying nearly 14,000 businesses across the region.

Polly Persechino, Head of Economy, Skills and Employment and Retrofit Skills Project Lead for South London Partnership, says: “Whilst we cannot underestimate the scale of the retrofit challenge in South London, this challenge also brings significant opportunity for our construction businesses and for south Londoners. To ensure that our residents and businesses are equipped with the skills required to harness this opportunity, we need a joined-up plan of action to address any skill deficits and ensure we have a talent pipeline ready to decarbonise our buildings.  We need to work with the construction industry and educators to identify where the investment in green skills is required and ensure the construction workforce is ready to adapt and adopt new technologies and practices to reduce carbon emissions. As well as decarbonising our homes, we hope this approach will create high-value jobs, providing a welcome boost to our South London economy.”

Key players in the field echo this view. In its recent report – Retrofit: Solving the Skills Crisis – climate action group Ashden describes mass retrofitting as the ‘triple win’ of lowering bills, reducing emissions, and creating a skilled workforce.

To ensure that the action plan meets ambitious national and local Net Zero targets, the Partnership has already brought together a South London Retrofit Taskforce. This is made up of contractors, social landlords, local authorities, further education providers, universities, urban planners, and policymakers – to reflect all stakeholders and parts of the supply chain needed to make this happen.

Businesses and organisations involved in the construction, building, and development sector, as well as housing associations, are invited to complete the South London Retrofit Survey to capture what your skills requirements are. Complete the survey here

As well as join an online event on 17th January 2024 which will explore the retrofit challenge in South London in more detail. Register your place here

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Posted 08/01/24

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