Four retrofitting ‘centres of excellence’ open to upskill 2,000 people

Minister says Laois & Offaly ETB will have particular focus for Bord na Móna workers


Four centres to train 2,000 people in retrofitting skills are to be opened in education and training board (ETB) centres around the country.

The centres of excellence will open in Limerick and Clare ETB, Mayo Sligo and Leitrim ETB, Cork ETB and Laois & Offaly ETB within the next three months.

Announcing the “centres of excellence”, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said the Government had set ambitious targets to retrofit 300,000 homes by 2030 “but we need to ensure we have the workers to deliver it”.

Retrofitting involves making homes more energy efficient to ensure lower energy and heating bills, and Mr Harris said the four centres of excellence would train 2,000 people in retrofit skills including qualifications in near zero energy building.

High standards

This training is already provided at a number of further and higher education facilities and the Minister said “retrofitting centres of excellence provide the very highest standards of training and qualifications to people attending them”.

“This is a very important area of the economy and there are huge employment opportunities within it.”

He said the Laois & Offaly ETB would have a particular focus for Bord na Móna employees, including a six-day “skills to advance” programme in thermal insulation installation.

Bord na Móna employees lost their jobs when the ESB ceased production earlier this month at its peat-powered plant at Shannonbridge, Co Offaly and in Lanesboro, Co Longford.

“We have a significant body of work to do to ensure Ireland is climate ready and we need workers to have the right skills to deliver on these huge challenges,” Mr Harris said.

He said this training would also be suitable for construction workers who want to “upskill in the area of green skills”.