"A new sectoral strategic approach to cooperate on skills in the Construction industry": Final Construction Blueprint event
On 22nd February 2023, the final event of the Erasmus+ project Construction Blueprint for skills took place in Brussels and online. The event was the perfect occasion to present the final findings of this 4-year project during three roundtables with high-level panellists dedicated to the skills for digitalisation, circular economy and energy efficiency in construction.
The event was opened by Commissioner for jobs and social rights, Nicolas Schmit who underlined “the green transition is requiring all of us to change the way we work and live. This is significantly impacting the construction sector as new building techniques to achieve zero emissions and safe energy are required, labour shortages keep hitting and more qualified workers are needed. It is therefore important to make the construction sector more attractive, especially for young people, and provide the right skills and approaches.”
In the framework of the Blueprint projects and through the creation of a Sector Skills Alliance (SSA), key European sectoral organisations and VET providers cooperated to develop innovative instruments to address skills gaps and shortages, and to match skills demand and supply in construction, while supporting the transition towards a sustainable construction sector.
During the discussion in the roundtable on digitalisation, the Secretary General of the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), Tom Deleu, explained "Trade unions welcome digitalisation as a driver towards more quality jobs and to reduce exposure to unsafe and unhealthy working conditions. But digitalisation and innovation are hindered today by business models based on cheap labour. This must change. And social dialogues are the best way to agree on a framework for an inclusive, fair and equal digital transformation.”
Then, in the circular economy roundtable, the Director General of the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), Domenico Campogrande, stated “If we really want to achieve the goals of the green and of the digital transitions, significant additional efforts should also be done for the “skills transition. And this requires a closer cooperation between all the stakeholders concerned: companies, workers representatives, public authorities, training bodies”.
Finally, building on the exchanges in the roundtable on energy efficiency, the Secretary General of the European Builders Confederation (EBC), Fernando Sigchos Jiménez, stressed “The importance of renovating buildings to make them more energy efficient, and therefore the need to properly train the professionals responsible for achieving these ambitions, now seems evident. Vocational training for the construction sector must therefore be prioritised, strengthened, better funded and redefined, to have enough quality workers and entrepreneurs and a real chance of achieving the European environmental and energy objectives by 2050.“
The last session of the event was dedicated to The Pact for skills in the construction sector. The Head of Unit Construction Policy from DG GROW (European Commission), Katharina Knapton-Vierlich concluded “The European Commission is working towards a sustainable, digital and solid construction ecosystem, in which skills are playing a key role. Construction and the built environment shape our private and professional life and safe, energy-efficient buildings are essential.”