Construction workers could soon be paid to attend courses on retrofitting, Simon Harris has said.
Retrofitting a home significantly reduces the energy required to heat a person’s home and usually involves the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and insulation.
Government grants can cover up to 80% of the cost and officials hope to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030.
In order to achieve that target, more people need to be trained in the sector and the Department of Higher Education has organised a number of free courses to boost participation.
Despite this, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris is concerned many people working in construction are reluctant to take time off to participate in an unpaid course.
“I’m working with the Department of Communication to see if we can put in place an incentivisation scheme where we could provide a bit of financial assistance to maybe take the day off work to do the training,” he told The Pat Kenny Show.
“I hope to roll that out in 2024.”
So far this year, 2,056 people have registered for the courses - slightly more than the 2,034 enrolled in the same period last year - and the Department is keen to increase numbers further.
“We now have more capacity than we have people willing to do the training,” Minister Harris said.
“So, yes, we are receiving a record number of people taking up retrofit training - and that’s good - but we actually have capacity to do an awful lot more.”
The Minister also noted that the number of women enrolling in courses has steadily increased.
“11% of people who have taken up retrofitting training are female,” he said.
“Obviously, we’d still like that number to be higher - it’s up from about 8% only last year, so it’s very much heading in the right direction.”
As part of the Climate Action Plan 2021, Environment Minister Eamon Ryan set a target of halving greenhouse gas emissions from residential properties from 7 Mt CO2 eq. in 2018 to between 3.5-4.5 Mt CO2 eq. by the year 2030.
Main image: Split of Simon Harris and a man attaching solar panels to a roof.