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Think About the Future: How Aico is Working to Build the Next Generation of Housing Professionals whilst hitting net zero goals

Think About the Future: How Aico is Working to Build the Next Generation of Housing Professionals whilst hitting net zero goals

Aico

5 min read Partner content

Building the homes that the nation needs and retrofitting existing stock to support the net zero transition are enormous national challenges. They will demand commitment, investment and action from government, housebuilders, and repairs and maintenance professionals across the UK. It will also require a workforce with the skills required to take part in a rapidly changing sector.

But the scale of the challenge is colossal. A recent Construction Skills Network report estimates that over a quarter of a million extra construction workers will be needed by 2026. Added to this we know that in construction trades there is a demographic timebomb, with the highest percentage of workers aged between 50 and 64 years.

As these skilled tradesmen head towards retirement, new approaches are needed to develop the next generation of professionals to build and maintain the nation’s housing stock.

Steve Trafford, Sales Director, from Aico believes that whilst these challenges are significant, they also present an opportunity to reshape the industry’s workforce.

“The new challenges we face will require new skills,” he explains. “At Aico, we are clear that, like others in the housing sector, we have a responsibility to develop the future skills base that is needed to meet the growing needs.”

As the European leader in home life safety, Aico’s technologies help keep people safe and healthy in their homes. But to supply, install, and maintain those technologies needs a reliable pipeline of skilled staff.

That is why Aico is investing in the next generation to create a new, skilled, diverse workforce that can meet the needs of future customers.

“Apprentices are a core part of our business,” Trafford explains. “10% of our colleagues started as apprentices, bringing new skills, energy, and ideas into our business.”

The company is also working even earlier, regularly delivering educational sessions in the nation’s classrooms to connect young people to the potential careers in technology, housing and maintenance and to raise awareness of fire safety and wellbeing impact of the damp, humidity and mould issues. So far almost 9000 students have been supported through 134 visits.

“Many young people assume a career in housing can only involve carrying bricks or a trowel,” xxx tells The House. “But the skills we need are changing. Modern Methods of Construction are growing and new technologies like our Smart Environmental Sensors are changing how housing management works. Our education programme is designed to change perceptions of the sector with the next generation.”

Making sure we have a young, skilled workforce for construction, maintenance and housing management is essential if we are to deliver on the housing ambitions that the nation has.


How the Housing Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce Is Putting Culture Change at the Heart of Future Skills

The housing sector is facing unprecedented pressure to deliver and reform. Tasked by the Government to rapidly deliver more homes, it is facing challenging targets to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, whilst improving the efficiency and sustainability of its existing stock. This must be achieved whilst balancing the key responsibility of meeting regulatory compliance to ensure the safety of residents.

One of the ways that the sector is seeking to share ideas, identify new solutions and deliver on these priorities is through the Housing Safety and Wellbeing Taskforce. This is an independent, sector-led initiative that is developing holistic approaches to delivering better, safer, and more sustainable homes. Aico, the European leader in home life safety, is one of the founding members.

Tina Mistry, Relationships Manager at Aico, told The House that the Taskforce is looking beyond just practical actions that housing providers can take. It is also exploring how the culture of the sector can best support change.  She explained why the adoption of a more holistic approach to skills will be critical for future success.

“Keeping people safe in their homes is part of everybody’s core job,” she tells us. “A key part of that is making sure that whoever is dealing with tenants can provide information, advice, and support on safety issues. We need to make sure that staff teams are equipped to do this.”

Developing staff to deliver preventative safety strategies will achieve both social and economic goals. In addition to benefiting residents, CEBR research suggests that preventative work will also deliver a saving to taxpayers by reducing the high costs associated with the impact of fires in people’s homes from £1.1 billion, to £134 million with protective measures in place.

The ambition of the Taskforce goes much wider than safety issues. Another critical area of focus is finding ways to support the net zero transition for housing. 

“Delivering net zero housing is often seen only in terms of physical improvements to homes,” MIstry tells The House. “But just as important is how people live in those homes. We need to create whole staff teams that can engage communities and residents in a way that allows them to play their part in the fight against climate change.”

Achieving this requires a holistic approach to skills, ensuring that all staff, from housing officers to repairs and maintenance teams, have the knowledge and confidence to support tenants and residents. But if we get it right it is an approach that will ultimately save lives and money, whilst also supporting the nation’s net zero ambitions. 


The Housing Safety & Wellbeing Taskforce Journey to Net Zero:

Based on consultation within the sector, Aico the leading founding member have identified the following 5 pillars to reach ambitious targets of becoming Net Zero

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