ESP Construction overview

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ESP was established in 2011 with a remit to enhance skills to meet industry’s needs and to support the diverse range of skills interventions required to maximise economic benefits as identified in the Construction Skills Investment Plan (SIP). The Construction and Energy Themed Group was established in 2012 to lead on Construction for Scotland’s colleges. This group was recently re-named the Construction Leads’ Forum with a strong focus on future developments in energy efficiency, low carbon heat, building services engineering as well as construction crafts.

The Construction Lead’s Forum priorities are supported by several sub sector training networks:

  • Low Carbon Heat Training Network
  • Energy Efficiency Training Network
  • Construction Crafts Training Network
  • Building Services Engineering Training Network
  • Construction Technician Training Network

Priorities for the Construction Leads’ Forum include work in relation to:

  • Curriculum development
  • National statistics analysis
  • Industry demand
  • Articulation
  • Industry-led CPD
  • College accreditation
  • Industry co-investment

Engage and Influence

Our Construction Leads’ Forum drives strategic change for the colleges construction and energy sector. Their role is to lead on the developments to increase colleges capability and capacity to deliver the required skills, as well as curriculum development aligned with emerging technologies, the Climate Emergency, and the Just Transition to Net Zero in partnership with Government, agencies and industry.

Capability & Capacity and Influence

ESP has applied substantial investment across Scotland’s colleges to build up the capability and capacity of energy efficiency and low carbon heat training centres to support the journey to net zero. This investment will generate significant opportunities for communities and industry across Scotland and support high value local jobs. As part of this transition, ESP has commissioned staff upskilling courses to raise the standards of delivery across colleges and provide lecturers with the necessary accreditation. ESP will continue to transition colleges at pace to meet Scotland’s green agenda and continually seek the additional funding that’s needed across colleges to support the upskilling industry needs to transition into the green skills sector.

  • the capacity and capability of colleges offering training for the energy efficiency and low carbon heat sector.
  • Recruit and train college assessors involved in the delivery of construction SVQ’s.

Working with our Energy Efficiency Training Network, ESP has increased colleges’ capability and capacity to deliver on Net Zero targets. In 2020 there were four colleges in Scotland offering low carbon heat training courses, there are now 17 colleges across Scotland offering a wide range of training in these subjects.

In 2020 a group of trade bodies and standard setting organisations, led by ESP, developed a minimum competence for tradespeople to install energy efficiency and low carbon systems in Scotland.

“ESP has increased colleges’ capability and capacity to deliver on Net Zero targets”


Construction Virtual Environment Resource Training (CONVERT)

CONVERT is a two-year national project funded by the Construction Industry Training Board. The project uses virtual and augmented reality to deliver immersive learning experiences that mimic real situations in construction. These are offered to students in further and higher education alongside secondary school students pursuing a career in the construction industry. There has been positive feedback from 185 learners and staff members across 51 separate events and training sessions to date.

Convert equipment used for Virtual drone piloting experience.

CITB Assessor Project

A recruitment campaign which set out to train high-quality assessors for the construction industry in Scotland has played a vital role in economic recovery.

The two-year project launched back in early 2020 was targeted at experienced tradespeople working in the Construction Sector. It was driven by ESP and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Read the Final Project Report here.

John MacMillan (Work Based Assessor Construction), John Renwick (ESP), Jade Nelson (Forth Valley College MA), Juliet Mallace (ESP), Nic Tuck (CITB)

Low Carbon Skills Funding (EST)

ESP worked in partnership with 5 regional colleges to upskill 84 3rd year Scottish plumbing and heating apprentices to gain their Air/Ground Source Heat Pump qualification in 2021. This accredited qualification will provide apprentices with the skills needed to install heat pumps in Scotland helping government meet its low carbon heat targets.

Mobile Heat Pump Assessment Centre

In partnership with Scottish Government and Energy Savings Trust, ESP are leading on the development of a mobile assessment centre that will be used to upskill the supply chain in Air/Ground Source Heat Pump technologies that will be accessible to all colleges across Scotland. This training centre will be used for:

  • Industry up-skilling/re-skilling AS/GS Heat Pumps
  • Public and private awareness
  • Community projects
  • School / STEM projects
  • Industry events
  • Supply chain merchants

Partnership and Collaboration

Scotland Excel

ESP is working in partnership with Scotland Excel and its 46 suppliers that have been awarded a Scottish Government £800m framework to help councils and housing associations to cut carbon emissions, tackle fuel poverty, and create warner homes. Scotland Excel has worked closely with ESP to develop the framework. This collaboration will help bridge gaps and ensure the supply chain is equipped with the right skills to deal with demand in coming years.

The Scottish Installers Skills Matrix

The Scottish Installer Skills Matrix was developed to help industry transition into this sector, this is now public and has been incorporated into the updated BSI PAS 2030 document that was published in February 2022. As a result, colleges will see an increase in the demand for accredited qualifications across Scotland. How Scotland’s colleges are supporting the journey to net zero.

Local Authority Building Standards Scotland (LABSS)

ESP led the development of a Construction Technical Modern Apprenticeship route for the Building Standards Profession for all local authorities in partnership with Inverness College UHI and Fife College. The purpose of the pilot is to introduce a new vocational pathway to support future growth and resilience of the building standards profession in Scotland. This apprenticeship will provide a much-needed route for young people to access the profession and build a career in local government.

“This collaboration will help bridge gaps and ensure the supply chain is equipped with the right skills to deal with demand in coming years”