Unlock Net Zero Jun 22

The retrofit skills gap and what’s needed to decarbonise the UK’s housing stock


In a recently published article by Unlock Net Zero, The Retrofit Academy’s CEO, David Pierpoint explored the skills gap that currently exists in the retrofitting sector and what is needed to decarbonise the UK housing stock.

Article Summary

The challenges that the retrofit industry needs to tackle head-on are simple:

  • There are 27 million homes that require retrofitting
  • 2050 is the Governments Net Zero deadline date
  • Delivery of two retrofitted houses a minute is the requirement
  • And it is estimated that 429,000 retrofitters will be needed

But how do we meet these challenges set before us?

David suggests that three factors must be addressed to deliver these targets with a collective action required: Retrofitting Capacity, Capability and Competence.


The recruitment of retrofitters isn’t just as simple as upskilling those already working within construction, as the numbers don’t add up (the current RMI workforce totals approximately 250,000). These retrofitters need to come from outside the sector and the industry to fulfil roles such as;

  • Retrofit Assessors
  • Retrofit Coordinators
  • Retrofit Designer
  • Retrofit Installers


There have been far too many examples of poor retrofitting, which only leads to costly remediation. These poor results usually come from knowledge and skills gaps and trying to do too much too quickly, with an inadequate budget. We need to make sure that the capability of those that we are training is of high quality, with their work reflecting this.

The capability issues we currently face are much broader than just installation – they extend across the industry and include the owners, landlords and managers of properties too. KNowing and understanding what good, quality retrofitting is, is an industry-wide problem.


Both organisational and individual competence is key to retrofitting. Where organisations don’t see retrofitting as a core competence they currently possess, organisations including social landlords, local authorities and housing associations will need to act quickly to meet targets.

The Retrofit Academy ‘Fit for Retrofit’ organisational training and accreditation programme is looking to address this.

On an individual basis, new qualifications will be required to ensure the quality of the work delivered (as mentioned previously) is of a high standard so as not to create costly complications in later years. The Retrofit Academy has developed the following nationally accredited qualifications to assist in the development of the core competencies needed:

It is incumbent on all of us to make sure these qualifications are widespread and as available as electrical and plumbing qualifications are, leading to the requirement of a more strategic approach.

Delivering the Vision

The Retrofit Academy has developed a roadmap to delivering our mission of training 200,000 competent retrofitters by 2030 and we invite key clients, employers, local authorities and training providers to help deliver this and build the future workforce around key activities. To get involved, drop us a line at partnerships@retrofitacademy.org and start the conversation. 

To read the full article click here.


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