As the world moves towards a more sustainable future, it is essential that the construction industry has the skills to adapt.

Upskilling in Retrofit and Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) is crucial for industry to meet the new Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requirements and the goals set out under the government's Housing for All and Climate Action Plan targets.

Further Education and Training (FET) is uniquely placed to respond to the critical skills needs in this country. It is serving as a resource for professionals to upskill and reskill throughout lifetimes and careers, and for the development of specialist skills.

Recent figures indicate that one in 10 adults in Ireland – about 423,000 people – were engaged in NZEB and retrofit training, construction skills schemes, apprenticeships or other FET activity last year.

Development of specialist skills

FET has become the go-to place for the development of specialist skills for emerging green construction, with SOLAS driving and supporting transformation in the sector to meet Ireland’s construction skills needs. This has been achieved through significant investment in the expansion of provision at local level through 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) across the country. 

Mauricio Paolino, left, Renewable Energy Systems learner and Daniel Cassidy, right, Renewable Energy Systems tutor at College of FET, Mulgrave Street Campus. 

Working in collaboration with the ETB network, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and a broad range of construction stakeholders, SOLAS is enhancing the construction training infrastructure and implementing new and comprehensive construction skills pathways around MMC, NZEB, Certified Passive House construction and digital construction skills.

Green construction upskilling in NZEB and retrofit are part of a broader suite of green skills programmes developed to ensure that every FET learner is equipped with the skills to become agents of change in climate action. SOLAS is supporting the training and upskilling of those in construction occupations in the latest green technologies through the roll out of NZEB Centres of Excellence at City of Dublin ETB, Cork ETB, Laois and Offaly ETB, Limerick and Clare ETB, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB, and Waterford and Wexford ETB.

Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s College of FET Green Innovation Campus (an NZEB and Retrofitting Centre of Excellence) located in Roxboro, Limerick, offers a number of training programmes designed to empower learners with knowledge of the principles and practices required to meet the NZEB standard. 

L-R: Mauricio Paolino, Renewable Energy Systems learner; Martin Cournane, Further Education and Training manager, NZEB and Retrofitting Centre of Excellence, Roxboro, Limerick; Arlene Douglas, director of Adult Education at College of FET, Mulgrave Street Campus, Limerick; and Daniel Cassidy, Renewable Energy Systems tutor at College of FET, Mulgrave Street Campus.

This provision is designed with industry for industry, with NZEB and Retrofit courses delivered in a flexible and hybrid manner, at little to no cost to the learner. They are designed to provide engineers, industry professionals and construction workers with the expertise required to ensure buildings are developed with high energy performance in line with industry standards and to reduce carbon emissions. 

Energy retrofitting

A great starting point for engineers, and construction professionals who wish to improve their expertise in energy retrofitting of dwellings is the fully funded NZEB Fundamental Awareness course. This one-day course is fully accredited, with a number of course dates open during the year.

Among the other courses available, which you can find at, is the QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Renewable Energy Systems. This 10-week online course is designed to facilitate the learner to acquire a technical knowledge of various renewable energy systems, an overview of current legislation in relation to the use of renewable energy systems and, to understand the design considerations required to increase the energy efficiency of a dwelling. This course offering is aimed at complementing other courses on offer at the ETB’s College of FET Mulgrave Street Campus Night School including self-build and project management courses.

Training is also available through the NZEB Centres of Excellence and NZEB and Retrofit training providers through City of Dublin ETB, Cork ETB, Laois and Offaly ETB, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB, and Waterford and Wexford ETB. Discover more at and begin your journey.