Borders College training construction experts of the future
Scotland’s push to become a net-zero country within the next few decades is an ambitious target that requires some ambitious thinking - and that is what one Scottish college is looking to provide.
Borders College is already working to provide building companies, small businesses and individuals in communities the skills they need to help transform their homes, shops and offices so they are no longer adding to the climate crisis, but helping to prevent it.
The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019, sets targets to reduce Scotland s emissions of all greenhouse gases to net-zero by 2045 at the latest, with interim targets for reductions of at least 56% by 2020, 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040.
Meeting those targets will require a major shift in the way homes are built and the way heating and power are provided – and these are the areas that Borders College is helping to provide expert training.
The Borders College Renewable and Energy Efficiency Training Centre was officially launched recently, one of six new training centres created around Scotland to ensure developers and students could learn the latest skills to create energy efficient net zero homes.
The training centres have been supported by ESP and funded by SP Energy Networks’ £20 million Green Economy Fund, which supports the delivery of the Scottish Government’s ambitious plans to meet climate change targets, boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for local communities.
On site they have an eco-room, showcasing the kind of net-zero technology that will become the standard for all homes.
From the use of insulating materials to create more energy-efficient buildings to learning about the installation of electric vehicle charging points at homes, and the use of solar thermal energy and air source ground source heat pumps, the college offers a huge range of courses.
Their fully equipped training centre allows them to provide a learning hub for students and the local workforce and community to learn about the methods already available to help reduce energy use and bring down emissions.
There are also courses in thermal imaging, which can help to find any faults in an existing home or a new construction, while the equipment can also be attached to a drone to carry out aerial surveys.
The college can also provide accredited training in mechanical ventilation systems with heat receivers, the latest smart tech which can be used to help control the environment of a home and reduce waste.
The launch of the new centres is also particularly significant in a year when the world’s attention will be on Scotland for the United Nations COP26 climate change conference to be held in Glasgow later this year, with these skills certain to be in demand worldwide over the coming decades.
Greg Steel, curriculum manager for sustainable construction at Borders College, is in no doubt about the importance of helping engineer a complete revolution in the way homes and offices are built and maintained.
“We’re in the middle of a climate crisis, and we have strict targets to try and meet,” he says.
“The construction industry can play a huge part in helping Scotland meet those targets, and that requires training on new construction methods, particularly around low-carbon heating.
“We want to be a national leader in helping Scotland become net zero by 2045 and that will mean to investing in the circular economy and educate people around construction
“These are really exciting times in the construction industry, it is a real sea change in the way things are done, and this will help business expand into these growth areas and drive forward the green recovery.
“This is a new area for us as well and we’re really excited to be forging ahead with this.
“We’d encourage anyone out there that’s interested to get in touch with the college and we can use the funding available such as flexible workforce development fund to put together bespoke packages for companies and tailor the training to their needs.”