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Great success at the QualiBuild Final Conference

The QualiBuild Final Conference – National Roll Out

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The QualiBuild Final Conference – The National Roll Out was held on the 21th June 2016 at the Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise Co Laois, Ireland.

The attendance exceeded 60 delegates from a range of backgrounds – construction workers, representatives of construction companies, academics, professionals, architects, engineers, surveyors, policy makers, industry and training establishments. This mixture of delegates provided much discussion among themselves and everyone agreed how important it is to up-skill the construction workforce and regulate the industry.

For information on the speakers and the final programme  take a look at the A6 FINAL CONFERENCE ……..

The day started off with the coordinator, Ciaran Lynch of Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT), introducing the background of BUSI Build Up Skills Irish Roadmap and the QualiBuild project. It was great to see Philippe Moseley the EU Project Officer from EASME speaking about the EU perspective and the role of the EU with funding and assistance to projects such as QualiBuild. There has been great praise of the QualiBuild project in Europe especially the training programmes and the development of a skill register for the construction workers. It is important to encourage construction workers to upskill and continue to train as part of continuous professional development, CPD.

Mark Keyes from IT Blanchardstown is the partner responsible for the Train the Trainer programme. It is important to upskill the trainers in the construction sector as these will ultimately train the construction workers and Mark with his team have applied great ingenuity and dedication in designing and piloting this training programme. The Train the Trainer course is highly praised in Europe and is available for use by other EU projects, such as in the Train-to-NZEB project training list (www.traintonzeb.com).

The delivery of the pilots was carried out in 2 phases between Oct 2014 and March 2016. It was a comprehensive and demanding course covering all the important areas for Quality Low Energy Building. This course was highly commended but with only 55 trainers completing the course it will require further training courses to be held around Ireland. It should be noted that 60,000 construction workers need to be upskilled in Ireland.

This leads nicely to the speech by Damien English, T.D Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal.  He provided a positive speech and talked about the need for social housing and tackling homelessness. It was also mentioned that the CIFs CIRI register is progressing to statutory status in the near future, which is great news for the construction industry helping to assist with regulation and upskilling of the workforce.  The programme developed for upskilling the construction workers is known as the Foundation Energy Skills (FES) course and this was developed by LIT with input from ITB. Seamus Hoyne is the head of flexible learning at LIT and presented the FES programme and how it was piloted nationally. There were 14 pilots carried out in the end with 2 specifically organised for Better Energy Communities and for the Port Laoise Prison Services. Take a look at the pilot deliveries of the Foundation Energy Skills (FES) course at  www.qualibuild.ie/events-archive/ . There were a number of FES attendees at the conference and a great discussion was held with these especially at the demonstration workshop by Richard McCarthy from ETB Ballyfermot.

Richard has recently been presented by the City and Guilds with an “Energy Training Award” and collected his award at Buckingham Palace of all places. A great achievement and well done to you. The demonstration certainly held up to expectations and it was difficult to draw delegates away from the Richard to have lunch. Wonderful food by the way. During lunch, Devyn Olson-Sawyer from the Irish Green Building Council, IGBC, also displayed the ebook, posters and a number of videos which were developed for the promotion of the project, aimed not only at the construction workers, but enhancing the awareness of Quality and Low Energy Building to the consumer and house builder.

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After lunch, Darragh Lynch the chair of the RIAI Sustainability Task Force carried out a presentation on design parameters of sustainable building. Quality is the overriding factor in the entire conference and Darragh discussed the Ballymun Boiler House project in Dublin which is part of the WISER (working with industrial spaces to exemplify reuse) Project. It was an interesting and topic and some innovative decisions were taken to ensure sustainability and community input. Read more on www.rediscoverycentre.ie/WISER_Life.aspx

Now that the training programmes for the trainers and construction workers have been developed and piloted, it is essential that attendees can display their training skills and qualifications. QualiBuild have developed a construction workers skills register, CWSR, Dublin institute of Technology, DIT, have designed and are in the process of finalising this register. Dara Stewart from DIT explained the process of thought and the importance of the CWSR and demonstrated how to use the register to a number of construction workers attending the conference. It is hoped that the register will become live early next week.

The final presentation encapsulated the entire QualiBuild project – how the training courses, register and other supporting measures can be further developed and rolled out in Ireland. Padraic Cullen from LIT explained the recommendations from the Irish BUSI Build Up Skills Roadmap and presented the current situation of QualiBuild. There is great interest and support from SOLAS, ETBI, SEAI, NSAI, public and private training bodies and industry to roll out the training programmes nationally and hold a single register for all construction workers. How this can be carried out and managed is another question.

Further discussions are due to take place with these Bodies and the Government between now and the end of the project 30th July 2016.

So watch this space.

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