Saint-Gobain extends technical Academy network with Erith launch

Published:  21 June, 2012

ERITH:Saint-Gobain has expanded its UK training network with the opening of its latest Technical Academy in Erith, Kent by Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, and Peter Hindle MBE, general delegate for Saint-Gobain in the UK, Ireland and South Africa.

The launch of the new training facility coincides with the introduction of a new range of courses focusing on key industry issues and developments, including the Code for Sustainable Homes, the Fabric Energy Efficiency Standard (FEES) and the Green Deal. These courses will be rolled-out across Saint-Gobain’s Technical Academy network, equipping all areas of the construction industry with the skills and expertise required to maximise opportunities arising from the move to a more sustainable built environment.

Training will be provided by experts from the company’s UK manufacturing businesses, including British Gypsum, Isover and Weber, which are leaders in their respective fields. It is targeted at a range of experienced industry professionals, including contractors, builders’ merchants and architects looking to up-skill, as well as new recruits to the industry.

Incorporating classroom facilities, a practical area for wet and dry training, and a product showroom, the venue will offer the wide range of hands-on and theory-based courses available through the existing Leicestershire and Bristol Technical Academies. Subjects include internal, external, acoustic and thermal insulation, drylining, plastering and flooring, and cover a number of products from across Saint-Gobain’s UK manufacturing businesses.

The Technical Academy network will play an important role in delivering nationwide support to the industry in light of the impending Green Deal, which is driving the need for training as construction professionals seek ways to optimise the environmental performance of buildings. As the world’s largest construction products manufacturer and distributor, Saint-Gobain is uniquely placed to meet this need, working in partnership with industry bodies such as the UK Green Building Council and CITB-ConstructionSkills.

The Green Deal courses have been developed in partnership with CITB-ConstructionSkills and will help to ensure trainees have the skills required to install products and systems to meet requirements when the scheme is launched later this year. Dedicated training areas have been introduced across all the Technical Academies to accommodate these courses.

Peter Hindle MBE commented: “One of the biggest challenges facing us in the UK today is the need to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of the built environment. This drive for low and zero carbon buildings and the supporting legislative changes means that construction professionals are faced with products and systems that can require very different skills from more traditional building methods.

“Whether trainees are new to the industry or more experienced and looking to update their skills, the Saint-Gobain Technical Academies enable them to keep abreast of changing regulatory and building requirements, as well as the new products and construction methods required to deliver the green building agenda. Over 2,500 people have completed courses at our Leicestershire and Bristol Academies since their launch last year and, following the launch of the Erith Academy, our customers in the south east will now have easy access to the same high calibre of training.”

The Technical Academy network builds upon Saint-Gobain’s existing training offer. This includes a number of company-specific facilities across the UK, a purpose-built Technical Academy in Ireland covering the Gyproc, Weber and Isover brands and the Greenworks Training Academy in Birmingham, which offers a range of courses on sustainable product solutions and renewable technologies, such as solar PV and thermal systems, heat pumps and biomass boilers and will now be offering accredited assessor training in support of the Green Deal delivery.

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