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Circling back

National ‘train the trainers’ construction retrofit resources now online

Net zero Skills planning

Giving retrofit trainers the tools to embed the circular economy into teaching is the aim of a raft of new online resources.

Figures show 2.25 million homes in Scotland need to move to low carbon heating with 895,000 of those defined as tenements. Retrofitting means going to back to existing buildings and updating them to become more energy efficient, and using a circular economy model will ensure there is no waste to the process.

The Circular Economy Construction Retrofit Programme was built out of a partnership between Zero Waste Scotland and Skills Development Scotland (SDS), as part of Scotland’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan.

The aim of the project is to make it easier for those teaching retrofit courses to embed circular economy into their classes, with the resources covering topics ranging from more detail on the circular economy itself, to procurement, waste and designing for deconstruction, as well as the impact of where a building is on the materials and processes used.

The national training programme is accessed online, enabling those delivering retrofit courses to add in what they’ve learned to existing retrofit teaching and training.

Whole house approach

Deborah Mooney, Partnerships Consultant at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “All the resources we’ve developed throughout the process are now online, free for use, accessible from across Scotland.

“The course takes a ‘whole house’ approach to decarbonising, so it’s easily adaptable into current teaching across a variety of subjects.

“This is very much a starting point, and we can go on to develop further resource and sessions as we gather more feedback.”


Deborah Mooney

The Verdancy Group provide sustainability training and environmental guidance to organisations, education and communities. They joined the project to deliver the training and carry out evaluation work.

Susan McSeveney, (below, right) Director at The Verdancy Group, said: “Coming in after the development phases of the project meant we could bring a fresh perspective to the piece. Our subject matter expert Bruce Newlands from Kraft Architecture was instrumental in pulling together a cohesive course from all the recent updates and legislation.

“What we are really aiming for with the materials is to bring lecturers and training staff a level of confidence in the changes to Scotland’s need for retrofitting. It may not be core curriculum yet, but if you’re teaching day-to-day you can use the knowledge to add value to current curriculum.”

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BE-ST (Built Environment, Smarter Transformation), as well as lecturers from Borders College, City of Glasgow College, Fife College, Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University all contributed feedback to the final course.

Elaine Ellis, (above, left) SDS Skills Planning Manager for construction, said: “These materials allow trainers to think about the whole picture from a circularity perspective and building the skills across the training network to support the embedding of circularity and sustainability within retrofit and wider construction projects. It also allows for longer term thinking around influencing qualification development and the curriculum.”

Access the online resources

Scotland needs 20,000 additional workers trained in construction retrofit by 2030 to meet the demand for more energy efficient buildings and net-zero targets. Giving retrofit trainers the tools to embed the circular economy into teaching is the aim of a raft of new online resources.

Go to the resources