A new report has highlighted the technical skills that are needed if the North East’s green ambitions are to be met. 

Research released alongside the report – produced on behalf of the Institutes of Technology – also shows the extent of the region’s demand for sustainable living, with 64% of North East people considering a home to be worth more money if it is sustainably constructed. 

‘The skills to succeed: Meeting the country’s evolving technical skills needs’ report looks at a range of challenges, including sustainable construction and energy and outlines that a workforce with the right technical skills is needed to make it a reality. 

Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) taught by Institutes of Technology place a focus on sustainability, encouraging the use of different materials such as glass and plastic which can be infinitely recycled without losing any of their properties, or steel which is quicker to build than normal construction methods. 

The use of 8D BIM (Building Information Modelling) – a process of creating a ‘digital model’ which is then tested against several different elements such as weather, light, ground conditions and temperature – can ensure the planning, design and building of structures is efficient, but more workers with the skillset to use and read the equipment are needed. 

Additionally, employment in the wind industry is expected to grow by 170% by 2026, so a pipeline of talent with the skills to work with offshore wind energy technology is needed to achieve the full potential of the resource. 

Further research shows a clear appetite for greener living – while the majority of people in the North East currently use electricity (79%) and gas (80%), if cost wasn’t a factor 54% would opt for renewable sources of energy. Furthermore, people in the North East would rather have good insulation (45%) in their next home than plentiful built-in storage (43%) or an entertaining space (21%). 

The North East Institute of Technology (NEIoT) is part of a new national network of regional partnerships between local colleges, universities and leading employers across England, created to ensure the technical skills and knowledge needed to overcome the biggest challenges communities face are accessible to all. 

IoTs provide training in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based occupations, many of which address sustainability demands facing the country, such as in energy, construction and agritech industries. Their work is increasing the accessibility of vital expertise for employers seeking to embrace innovation. 

Iain Nixon, Vice Principal Partnerships and Commercial at Education Partnership North East, said: “The Institutes of Technology are vital in providing students and apprentices with the technical skills and specialist knowledge to build a successful career. 

“Being part of the NEIoT complements our careers-focussed curriculum and facilities investment both of which are aligned to meeting the local skills priorities of industry. 

“We are committed to developing a strategic approach to skills, innovation, and economic productivity with key partners and employers within green transport specifically electric vehicles and battery manufacture, green construction and building, , and green power specifically offshore renewable energy so our colleges continue to play a leading role in the region’s rapidly evolving green economy.” 

Mark Anderson, Strategic Lead for North East Institute of Technology, added: “The work we are doing across the network is vital to address the increasing demand for sustainability across the region and nation. 

“By working closely with our region’s employers to train their workforce and future workforce for the needs of industry both now and in the future, we can be pioneers of training for key forces for change such as sustainable construction methods and efficient energy sources. We can support industry as it works to deliver for consumer and business demands.” 

Michelle Donelan, Minister for Higher and Further Education, said: “Institutes of Technology are not only playing a critical role in helping to close skills gaps in key sectors such as sustainable construction, but crucially, they are providing people with high quality technical training that leads to good jobs, helping to level up opportunity across our country. 

“The need to support sectors such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, construction and digital looks set to only grow and with their close ties to employers, Institutes of Technology will be the driving force behind ensuring the workforce is ready for future technological change and changing working practices.” 

As well as covering Energy, Construction and Technical Skills, the report also looks at challenges around Cyber, Electric Vehicles and Agriculture. 

Read the full report at 220616_Institutes-of-Technology_NE-Release-for-Report-Moment.pdf (sunderlandcollege.ac.uk)

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