Galashiels Academy Pupils Explore the Future of Energy Efficiency at Net Zero House

Eight pupils from Galashiels Academy recently had an inspiring visit to the Net Zero House at The Energy Training Academy in Dalkeith, gaining insight into the work required for existing and new buildings to reach net zero.

Organised by DYW Borders and the Borders Construction Forum, this visit offered S4 and S6 students a hands-on experience in understanding the importance of building and retrofitting to high standards of energy efficiency, a crucial shift within the construction sector if Scotland is to meet its 2045 net zero target. S6 student, Joe Dunkerley, was impressed by the visit, commenting: “I am more interested in the built environment knowing that so many jobs will be available.”

Kevin Greenfield, Programme Manager of DYW Borders, highlighted the importance of such educational visits, stating: “The visit to the Energy Training Academy is part of the work to develop an energy efficiency supply chain through creating educational pathways to net zero job opportunities in the built environment. We need to significantly increase the number of skilled trades and professionals to decarbonise our homes and buildings by 2045.”

The Net Zero House serves as an educational hub, providing insight into sustainable building practices, and is accessible to individuals of all ages and expertise levels. Andrew Lamond, Director of The Energy Training Academy, expressed his enthusiasm for the engagement of the young visitors: “It was fantastic to see several young people travelling from the Scottish Borders to Dalkeith to learn more about what we do at The Energy Training Academy. With around 50% of all gas-safe engineers in the UK over 50, meeting our Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) installation targets by up-skilling existing heating engineers requires a new generation of talent. We must encourage more young people to consider a career in the heating and green skills industry.”

The visit not only underscored the growing need for new talent in the energy sector but also served as a catalyst in fostering interest and skills in energy efficiency and sustainable construction. Julie Nock, Scottish Borders Construction Forum Coordinator, said: “The built environment is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions, so the sector has a major role to play in the net zero transition. Every house needs to be decarbonized with better insulation, more efficient heating and renewables, which will ensure reliable work for the next 20 years. This needs a diverse range of skills, and the transition is creating many satisfying and lucrative career opportunities for our young people as they look ahead to this changing workforce.”

The visit is part of the Build Your Future programme, funded by Scottish Borders Council.

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