Think of construction and you probably imagine bricklayers building new homes, or plant operators creating the infrastructure we need for the country to prosper. Or you might think of the managers looking after site safety, or high-tech professionals working with BIM. It’s fair to say that most people wouldn’t currently think of construction as an energy-efficient sector creating green jobs in areas such as retrofitting or renewable energy.

However, this is soon changing as the industry is working towards building a more sustainable world by placing environmental impacts at the heart of large-scale infrastructure and construction projects.

Developments in waste management, green buildings, and environmentally friendly materials are leading construction towards a more sustainable future. Additionally, with roles such as sustainability specialists, environmental engineers, ecologists and environmental advisors, there are numerous opportunities to get involved in the green revolution.

Leading the way

One way the industry is moving forward is through the Construction Leadership Council’s Green Jobs Taskforce. Recently, they published 15 recommendations to the government to make the industry more sustainable. Highlights include:

  • Publishing a detailed net zero strategy and using policy to promote green jobs and skills
  • Industry, the education sector and the UK government working together to put in place green careers advice and pathways to jobs
  • To ensure a just transition for workers in high-carbon sectors like construction, retraining them into greener occupations
  • Building on the UK government’s skills reforms to support people to work in the new green economy.

To implement these recommendations – and to reach the government’s legally mandated target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – will take all of the industry working together with a common purpose.

From a skills perspective, that means colleges, employers, federations, government and the Construction Leadership Council all thinking green, so that the skills, knowledge and experience needed are embedded throughout our sector.

Construction needs an extra 350,000 roles to keep pace with net zero targets, mostly focused on improving current housing stock.

And this is where you can come in – we are at the beginning of construction’s exciting transition to becoming greener and more sustainable, and new workers will be key to achieving that and building a more environmentally friendly world around us.

Placing values at the heart of construction

Generation Z want jobs that chime with their values, which means thinking about sustainability is just as important as job satisfaction and earning a good salary. You can check out more examples of how constriction is becoming increasingly sustainable here.

A key part of achieving these goals is not only focusing on jobs that are obviously green, such as retrofit coordinators. It also includes reworking traditional trades such as carpentry or bricklaying.

People within the industry will need to have a broader set of green skills, knowledge, and behaviours – adopting new ways of working and technologies. We all play a part in meeting the biggest challenge our society now faces – by either starting your working life in construction or changing your career to a more sustainable route, you could play a particularly vital role in looking after our planet.

You can read the CLC’s Construct Zero performance framework, which provides clear targets for construction to reach Net Zero carbon emissions.

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