Closing the Construction Skills Gap – DASBE Conference hears that Collaboration is Key

Key education, research, and industry leaders in the construction sector attended the Transforming Construction Skills Conference organised by DASBE in Portlaoise today, May 9.  DASBE (Digital Academy for the Sustainable Built Environment) is a hub for upskilling in the construction sector. DASBE is a partnership between two higher education institutes, the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) and Atlantic Technological University (ATU), along with industry partners the Irish Green Building Council and Tipperary Energy Agency and is funded by the government’s Human Capital Initiative Pillar 3.  It provides blended education in critical areas needed to upskill the construction and retrofit sectors.  The Transforming Construction Skills Conference explored the impacts of the DASBE initiative and discussed the future of construction skills in Ireland.

Seamus Hoyne, dean of flexible and workplace learning at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) introduced DASBE and outlined how the initiative has successfully developed over 40 new academic programmes in the past 3 years, all of which are industry relevant and accessible with the majority delivered in a blended or online format. This has taken ‘extensive engagement’ with industry and new collaborations are constantly being developed.  Speaking further on the ‘DASBE Transformation Journey’, he explained how new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, drones and Building Information Modelling (BIM) are being used to ensure students are exposed to cutting edge technologies.  “The impact of DASBE has been significant, as are the requirements for skills and resources in the built environment.  We need to continue to collaborate and develop solutions to meet industry needs” Seamus said.

The keynote session was delivered EuroACE secretary general Adrian Joyce.   EuroACE works with European institutions to help Europe move towards an efficient use of energy in buildings. “From an EU perspective, there is a growing awareness that the challenges associated with delivering the renovation wave strategy on the ground are strongly linked to the development of closer cooperation between educational institutes, industry, and government agencies to ensure that we have a reinforced and upskilled workforce in the efficient buildings sector.  At EuroACE we are working with our 16 members on achieving this goal”.

Delegates were also addressed by TUS President Prof. Vincent Cunnane. “We need to work together to design and develop new ways in which people can access learning and create education, training and career pathways for learners. Attracting more people into the sector is key if we are to reach our housing and climate targets and it is clear it is an exciting and evolving sector to be involved in”.

For more information on DASBE programmes, micro credentials and virtual reality tools please visit www.dasbe.ie

DASBE is funded by the Higher Education Authority’s HCI Pillar 3, a government programme designed to meet priority skills needs, by increasing collaboration between higher education and enterprise with a focus on innovations in teaching and learning.

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