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Review launched to find extent of brownfield skills gap

Regeneration agency English Partnerships and the Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC) has launched a nationwide review of the skills requirements needed to tackle the surge in brownfield developments.

Of the 3M new homes proposed by the government in the recent Housing Green Paper, at least 60% will be built on brownfield land. The review, being carried out by the ASC, aims to identify the extent of the skills gap in the brownfield sector. The results will inform a national strategy to ensure an adequate supply of brownfield professionals, including an increase in those with formally accredited qualifications.

ASC director of learning and skills Trudy Birtwell said: "We not only need to ensure an adequate supply of brownfield professionals in the future, but also build where we can on the skills base of existing practitioners."

Initially, the research will give a detailed analysis on current and anticipated skills gaps that could hinder or prevent re-use of brownfield land. It will also look at available education and training opportunities and training delivery, as well as professional accreditation. The findings will form the basis of a national brownfield skills strategy, to be published early next year.

English Partnerships national brownfield adviser Professor Paul Syms said: "Re-using brownfield land… protects greenfield land and tackles the blight of dereliction. Ensuring people have appropriate brownfield skills is fundamental to meeting these objectives."

Brownfield practitioners, accreditation bodies, public and private sector employers, and national and regional skills bodies are being invited to take part in the research through online surveys, workshops and case studies.

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