PROJECTS: QUALIFIED WORKFORCE CONCERNING ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDINGS WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE TRAINEE PROJECT

Improving the skills of the construction workers to construct energy efficient buildings is one of the priorities of the project “Toward market-based skills for sustainable energy efficient construction” (TRAINEE), part of the Work Program for “Secure, clean and efficient energy” under the call for “Energy Efficiency” EE-2016-2017 from the “Horizon 2020” program.

The project activities develop measures that represent an upgrade to the already achieved results from the last two projects “Training construction workers in energy efficiency 2014-2016” and “Developing energy efficiency skills 2012-2013”, including development of training schemes, expanding the trainings and requalification of the workforce (architects, construction engineers, technicians and construction workers) in order to achieve the EU parameters from the “Strategy 2020” for energy efficiency.

Priority of every national economy is to create preconditions for development of competitive workforce in all areas, one that is prepared to tackle the challenges of the modern economic flows.            

By increasing the offer of non-formal education for qualification, under the TRAINEE Project, we ensure development of training programs for professionals on middle or higher level, in accordance with the National Platform of qualifications of fitters and designers of renewable energy sources, architects, engineers and technicians. The training programs from the Knowledge and Skills Management Center will provide continuity in the implementation of the programs for boosting the skills of energy efficiency in construction by developing and conducting Building Information Modeling.

With the aim of raising the capacities of the construction sector to introduce energy efficiency in the construction of energy efficient buildings, activities will be conducted related to the familiarization with the tools for Building Information Modeling (BIM software), in every stage of construction, utilization and maintenance of the buildings.

The Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the focal point of the digital transformation of the construction sector and the construction environment. BIM is not a novelty, but an expanding global trend. The BIM tools are an intelligent software/platform for cooperation – central designing, modeling, planning in architecture, construction and other engineering stages. The BIM process develops the construction building into a 3D model where all factors may contribute, analyze and calculate expenses, thereby acquiring better benefits from its application. Reports predict that the broader adoption of BIM will enable savings of 15-25% on the global infrastructure market by 2025. Precisely the changes resulting from new technologies will most probably have the greatest impact on the construction sector.

To that end, activities are developed in the scope of the Project, meant to promote the application of the BIM tool by including around 30 interested companies in five-day trainings for construction engineers, architects and technicians, and by using the online distance learning modules, they will receive education and specific guidelines for implementation of BIM.

Consequently, by applying the Building Information Modeling tools, on a national level, we will strengthen the multidiscipline approach to sustainable construction and demonstrate the differences between the designed and the current energy characteristics of the buildings. The introduction of Building Information Modeling, which is one of the requirements of the new public procurement rules of the European Commission in the area of construction, will be implemented by initiating workshops and trainings for raising the awareness of all stakeholders, construction companies, engineers, architects, workers, but also of the investors and the competent government institutions, as well and the end users of the buildings, with the goal of delivering financial and energy savings in the constructions.

This project will pilot two case studies, which will cover four buildings with implemented BIM system and part of the BIM tools that will be additionally developed during the Project.

            The construction sector is specific in nature, because a large number of employees do not have formal education or do not have official documents regarding the skills they possess. This renders the companies uncompetitive in the business and the workforce uncompetitive in the labor market. Our challenge would be to carry out recognition of the skills that the workers, technicians and engineers possess, by certifying them, as well as to hold accredited trainings, which will be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the investors, construction companies and the professional organizations.

As part of the Project, a Knowledge and Skills Management Center was established, which is supposed to create conditions for continuous process of trainings for workers, technicians and engineers. The certified trainings in this Center will be meant for every occupation in the construction sector, as well as for all degrees of qualification, from workers to engineers. There are ten occupations that are expected to upgrade their knowledge on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, especially in the segment of solar energy utilization. The plan is to encompass approximately 500 professionals in these trainings, under the TRAINEE project, namely, 150 technicians, 80 construction engineers, 20 designers of photovoltaic systems and thermal solar collectors and 250 workers.

The methodology for recognition of their knowledge and skills in the previous projects, was conducted with approximately 1100 workers from the construction sector. Now, this methodology will be developed to the benefit of the engineers. Macedonia is a leader in the region in implementation of the methodology for recognition of knowledge and skills and our experiences have been cited on European level.

The Project will encompass 35 recognition sessions, where approximately 200 companies and 10 educational institutions will be involved. For the purpose of increasing the visibility, a list of certified trainings and a public register will be prepared, which will include 10 training providers, 240 certified trainers, 80 certified engineers and around 1500 technicians and workers. The activities will be promoted with two international workshops and one international conference.

The project activities are conducted by the Economic Chamber of Macedonia, as coordinator, in partnership with: the Association of Business and Consultants "Creation", the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technologies within the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University – Skopje, the Public Institution Adult Education Center – Skopje (COV), the Engineering Institution of Macedonia (IIM) and the WITS INSTITUTE SL (BIM Academy) from Spain.