27 Apr 2022

Tenant expertise should be at forefront of green skills challenge

In a new sector insight report, CIH Cymru and Aico have engaged a wide range of professionals to understand the contemporary picture around skills linked to delivering on some of the biggest ambitions in the sector. From building 20,000 low carbon social homes to improving the quality and safety of existing buildings.

Through surveying and a sector focus group, the report highlights that the challenge around skills to deliver the sector’s ambitions linked to tackling and reducing the impact of climate change is vast. Engaging with tenants to alleviate concerns about new technologies to make homes as efficient as possible and empower their effective use was seen as a major priority. It was felt that tenant expertise could be further harnessed to refine how organisations approach improving their homes, whilst the opportunity to offer training and routes into new types of employment for tenants and local communities need to be harnessed, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Other perennial challenges were also prevalent in discussions, including how organisations access sustainable finance and how supply chains are made sufficiently resilient to cope with demand whilst allowing for local sourcing of expertise and components. 

The report suggests several tangible steps that could see further progress in this area, including scoping the creation of a housing skills academy for Wales, sharing expertise between organisations and holding knowledge about the effectiveness of retrofitting measures in one place to support sector learning.

Matt Dicks  |  National director, CIH Cymru

The approaches we use to improve homes are often a highly technical area of housing activity. But our conversation with the sector captures the importance which tenant expertise must play in informing, shaping and scrutinising the approach organisations adopt. Whilst we know that the skills needed to realise the ambitious housing vision we all hold for Wales will require a massive boost in new skills and expertise across the sector, we can’t ignore the opportunity this presents. For communities living with the long-term impact of the COVD-19 pandemic alongside the cost-of-living crisis, we must do more to ensure those communities are the ones that benefit most from the boost to employment and economic activity this effort represents.

Tina Mistry  |  Relationship manager, Aico

We want to thank CIH Cymru for their support in identifying the importance of engaging with residents to alleviate concerns about new technologies within the homes. Creating a housing skills academy for Wales can only be achieved through accurate collaborative working. We need to ensure that every department within the housing sector is educated and empowered to drive this agenda forward. This will also require support from the education sector to develop future generations, contractors to be upskilled, and, most importantly, to ensure that residents from all tenures are part of the journey.