Agenda item

Public Questions and Petitions

To receive any questions or petitions from members of the public



Question regarding Workforce and Skills Gap


Jean Miller asked the following question:


Everyone recognises that we will immediately face a workforce and skills gap once money becomes available for retrofitting, and that this gap cannot be filled quickly. If we look around us we see that Manchester is training over 1000 people through its Retrofit Academy, Harrogate College has its retrofit courses and North East Derbyshire is training retrofit apprentices through its retrofit programme. What provision is Sheffield Council making for such training? What provision is being built into the Gleadless Valley Master Plan?”       


In response, the Chair responded that:


We do recognise that this is a gap in Sheffield and we are working with partners to close it.


The Local Plan and new Council housing – The Local Plan is currently under consultation.  It outlines the minimum requirements for developments to meet to gain planning permission.  These standards go above and beyond the national building regulations updated this year to reduce carbon emissions.  The workforce building these developments will need to be trained to the correct standards to meet the requirements.  All new Council Housing developments also work to those same higher standards.  With plans to build 40,000 new houses in Sheffield in the coming 17 years, this will create significant training opportunities for the existing workforce as well as apprentices and new entrants to the industry.


We are working with Sheffield College to develop its retrofitting curriculum.  The College are developing a 5000 sq metre Sustainable Construction Centre which is expected to be ready by 2025 if not before.  In the meantime, we are in discussion to lend them empty Council buildings to train apprentices and other learners in retrofitting and then provide them with experience of “live” projects as we improve our existing large estate of housing, offices, schools etc. The College representatives have provided a specification for the vacant building(s) and are visiting the various options.


The Council have agreed a £3m budget to install additional renewable technologies onto buildings in our estate which will create further training opportunities for these students and apprentices.


We are also working closely with the MCA as they develop both their Retrofit Taskforce as outlined in the Mayor’s manifesto and the new Skills Strategy, for which one of the key themes is “green” jobs and training.  We are exploring opportunities created by the devolution of the Adult Education Budget to direct funds towards retrofitting and other environmental training such as Electric Vehicle technology.


The Gleadless Valley Masterplan includes plans to both take advantage of Sheffield-wide employment and skills programmes by running them in Gleadless as well as locally developed projects.