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EU Commission has founded a new NEB Academy to enhance the skills around sustainable construction


Unsplash / Alexander Abero

As part of the New European Bauhaus initiative, NEB Academy's goal is is produce information on regenerative bio-economy and circular system of material reuse for higher and vocational education as well as for life-long learning. Aalto University is the Finnish contributor to the NEB Academy.

Around 40% of GHG emissions come from building operations and an additional 10-20% from embodied emissions, making the construction ecosystem a major contributor to the climate crisis and a necessary sector to transform.

One of the main obstacles to transformation is the massive need for skilled workers and educated professionals on all levels. More than three quarters of companies in the EU report difficulties in finding employees with the necessary skills. Thus, there is an urgent necessity for up-skilling and re-skilling to support the transition from an extractive, mineral-based and fossil-fuelled construction economy to a regenerative bio-economy and circular system of material reuse.

The objective of the NEB Academy is to generate a wealth of knowledge both online and offline for higher and vocational education as well as for life-long learning, available and delivered to as many professionals as possible across Europe and the surrounding regions. The project will establish Hubs that have regional coverage and/or expertise in specific topics, create a joint business plan and operational models, then link them through a digital platform that will serve as a matchmaker between learners and trainers. Also, an open repository for NEB Academy certified training contents will be available, addressing bio-based, circular, regenerative, and long-life processes, concepts, and solutions with microcredentials available.

Furthermore, the NEB Academy will provide a policy roadmap guiding implementation of the Green Deal, Renovation Wave, Circular Bioeconomy and related policy initiatives. The NEBA Alliance will be the first and most dynamic entry in a massive push for skills and education across all levels of the construction sector and society.

"There is a huge global training need in circular economy skills in construction. The fight against climate change will be solved in cities, and many more urban circular economy practitioners are needed. It is great to be able to create an Academy that will meet these needs and expand access to high-quality education," says Matti Kuittinen, Professor of Sustainable Construction at Aalto University. Aalto is the NEB Academy partner from Finland.

In line with the integrated approach of the New European Bauhaus initiative, the NEB Academy embraces systemic thinking around sustainable construction, looking at all the phases and links in the sector’s value chain. Identified knowledge gaps in the use of bio-based materials, digital technologies, and increased circularity in construction offer the first focus areas.