Expert discussion on the role of vocational education in the implementation of national goals for energy efficiency in the building sector

Under the BUILD UP Skills initiative, over 2,000 specialists have been trained in the construction of energy-efficient buildings

On January 17th, a conference under the motto "Education and Training for Energy Efficiency and RES in Buildings" was held in Sofia, as well as in an online format. One of the highlights of the forum was the BUILD UP Skills Bulgaria 2030 initiative, which aims to develop a road map for increasing knowledge and skills in construction.

The event was organized and attended by experts from the Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA), the Center for Energy Efficiency EnEffect, the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training (NAVET), the Bulgarian Construction Chamber (BCC) and the Bulgarian Association for Construction Insulation and Waterproofing (BACIW) and attracted more than 80 on-site and online participants.

The focus of attention was on the role of vocational education for the implementation of national goals for energy efficiency in the building sector, as well as trends in vocational education and training related to mandatory changes in state educational standards in professional areas in the field of construction. The results of the BUILD UP Skills Bulgaria project for the period from 2011 to 2022 were also presented.

"This project has over a ten-year history of cooperation in the field of professional education and training," commented Dragomir Tzanev, executive director of EnEffect and project coordinator. "In Bulgaria, we managed to train over 2,000 construction specialists, but this is far from enough. Our strategic goals for 2030 are related to an increasing contribution of the construction sector to the transition to green energy. This, in turn, requires the creation of a framework for a system for continuing professional qualification in construction," he added.

"The transition to clean energy forms a legislative framework – European, together with the challenges of the Green Deal. This includes the Energy Efficiency Directive, the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources, which form the challenges for Member States. The other aspect is the European Energy Union, which has multiple dimensions such as energy security, the internal European energy market, energy efficiency and decarbonization," said Ivaylo Alexiev, executive director of SEDA. In this context, he outlined the development of vocational education and training as a primary task and emphasized the need for hard work by all professional communities.

Lyuba Krasteva (NAVET) emphasized the "Modernization of Vocational Education and Training" project: "It envisages changes regarding the structure of the list of professions and the structure of state educational standards, aiming to reduce the number of professions and at the same time foresee modernization of national examination programs. There will also be changes in the content of curricula and programs."

The experts focused on the role of business as a source of knowledge about new products and technologies in construction. Ira Ivanova (EnEffect) drew attention to the BUSLeague & BUS GoCircular projects, which support the creation of a qualification framework for increasing knowledge and skills for implementing energy-efficient and circular solutions in buildings.