More than 1,000 people to learn retrofitting skills to help city-region achieve net zero future

Aug 16, 2021 | Green Skills/Jobs, Retrofitting

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A new Retrofit Skills Hub will train and upskill over a thousand people in retrofitting homes and public buildings to meet Greater Manchester’s retrofitting ambitions.

Through European Social Funding, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has awarded £1.1m to the Low Carbon Academy, part of the North West Skills Academy, to deliver courses to 1,140 people who will be trained to ensure the city-region’s homes and buildings are fit for a low-carbon future.

It is estimated that 60,000 buildings in Greater Manchester will require retrofitting every year to meet the region’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2038.

Training will be delivered through partners The Retrofit Academy, The Manchester College, Oldham College, and Fabric – and has been designed to help support a sustainable economy as the city-region recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic, alongside delivering carbon neutrality 12 years ahead of the UK Government’s national target.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Training and upskilling construction workers is the first step in moving towards a greener and low carbon city-region, and we are really looking forward to working alongside The Low Carbon Academy and their partners to make this a reality.

“If we want to achieve our goal of a carbon-neutral Greater Manchester by 2038 it is vital we have a workforce that can successfully future-proof our homes and businesses. Our plans to retrofit properties across the city-region on a mass scale will create thousands of new green jobs for residents.

“What’s more, if we get our response to the climate crisis right, we can take effective action to tackle the jobs crisis and housing crisis at the same time. By prioritising areas where housing quality is lowest, we can make homes cheaper to run and help cut fuel poverty, ultimately improving quality of life for thousands of people in our city-region.”

The funding package is part of Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth Programme which has been designed to fill occupational skills gaps identified by employers, who have continued to highlight they cannot find the technical skills in Greater Manchester required to support and grow their businesses. The Retrofit Skills Hub is the first of many skills commissions taking place following consultation with employers who have identified skills gaps in a number of industries.

The Low Carbon Academy is the Retrofit training arm of North West Skills Academy. The Academy launched in 2013 in Greater Manchester to upskill existing construction roles such as Green Deal Advisors and installers of retrofit systems.

Since launching, the Academy has supported more than 2,000 individuals across 900 businesses to become upskilled in the retrofit market. There are currently more than 400 people training for retrofit qualifications at the Academy.

Councillor Andrew Western, GMCA lead for Digital, Works, Skills and Clean Air, said: “This is the first skills commission of Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth Programme, and is an example of the city-region responding to the needs of residents and businesses to upskill our workforce.

“Thousands of buildings will require upgrading if Greater Manchester is to achieve its net zero carbon ambition. It’s going to take a large and skilled workforce to carry work out on this scale, and that is why we are putting the funding in place to ensure our buildings will be fit for the future.”

Samuel Riley, CEO at North West Skills Academy, said: “I am delighted that North West Skills Academy are leading this commission for GMCA. Our Low Carbon Academy, along with our selected subcontractors are perfectly positioned to respond to Greater Manchester’s retrofit skills need.

“Our supply chain brings a wealth of experience in this sector including The Manchester College, Oldham College, Retrofit Academy and Fabric Five Point Zero.”

Back in May, the Mayor of Greater Manchester launched The Greater Manchester Retrofitting Task Force, to start out a detailed action plan to deliver low-carbon retrofitting across the city-region. Upskilling construction workers is one of the priorities identified by the task force.

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit the GOV website)

For more information on applying for the course visit or email

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