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Minister Harris welcomes record participation in retrofit upskilling and reskilling programmes with a boost in the number of females training


Minister Harris welcomes record participation in retrofit upskilling and reskilling programmes with a boost in the number of females training


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today (Monday 25th September) announced a record number of participants in retrofitting upskilling and reskilling programmes in 2023. 


Figures to the end of August show we have already beaten the end-of-year figures for 2022, when the number of enrolments totalled 2,034.


This year to date, there have been 2,056 enrolments with a record number of women.


Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “This is really good news. The Government wants to retrofit 500,000 homes by 2030 and we need highly skilled workers to deliver that.


“Over the course of 2022 and the first eight months of 2023, we have already trained 4,090 people in this key area.


“Training more people helps increase the pace of the retrofitting programme. Crucially it adds competition into the market, which can only reduce the cost for the consumer.


“We are also seeing a boost in the number of women participating in training with a boost of 2 per cent compared to last year.” 


The majority of courses are free, fast and flexible with weekend and evening provision available.


Minister Harris added: “The system has capacity to handle even larger numbers of students. Many people feel they cannot take the few days off from work to do the training. This is especially true for sole-traders.


“In this context, my officials are examining the potential for an incentivisation scheme, which would provide people with a financial contribution in lieu of income foregone while undertaking training. This is at early stages but it could lift one of the barriers facing people accessing this vital training.”


The recent development of the Mobile NZEB Training Unit by Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board and the National Construction Training Campus at Mount Lucas has further increased interest in NZEB courses, and helped drive the Department’s response to Housing for All skills and workforce needs.


This mobile unit travels to construction sites and schools around the country allowing people to avail of NZEB courses wherever they are. The unit is powered by solar PV panels and includes a working heat pump and ventilation system, which makes it entirely self-sufficient and an excellent showcase for these technologies.


It is currently booked to visit Dublin, Donegal, Cavan, Westmeath, Wexford and many other places before Christmas and can train over 100 people per week. 

Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan said: “We have seen very strong growth in the delivery of home retrofits over the last 18 months with a well-developed pipeline of work into the future.


“Increasing the number of workers with retrofit skills will be critical to building on this momentum so I very much welcome the record participation rates on retrofit courses. 

“A career in retrofitting is a career that really contributes to society. It delivers warmer, healthier homes, with lower fuel bills and lower emissions. I’m delighted to see so many people taking part in these programmes.”


The skills training is provided in a number of further and higher education facilities including at Centres of Excellence operated by Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB), Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB), Limerick Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB) and Cork Education and Training Board (CETB). Courses are also delivered in Mayo-Sligo-Leitrim ETB, City of Dublin ETB and Tipperary ETB.


The Centres of Excellence provide the highest standards of training and qualifications to people attending them.


In many cases, where a person has an existing construction-related qualification, knowledge or experience, they can learn these skills quickly, usually within three-four days. Those in the sector interested in upskilling can find out more details by visiting



The number of people enrolled to train in these courses has risen: 

  • 363 to 793 enrolments in 2021 
  • 2,034 enrolments in 2022 
  • A record 2,056 in September 2023



This reflects an increase of: 

  • 118% between 2020 and 2021 
  • 156% between 2021 and 2022 
  • 466% between 2020 and September 2023