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I’ve done quite a few different jobs; furniture polisher, drink server, breakfast maker, garlic bread rustler, chicken hanger, piano stool maker, wire braider, sculptor and mould maker. And all this before becoming a plumber. From plumbing I became a heating engineer, and from there an energy assessor, and then a retrofit coordinator.
Practical courses, manufacturers courses, retailers and suppliers. I’ve studied a lot of subjects and taken a lot of training.
Some courses are made by building designers, some by marketeers, others by technical experts. Rarely are courses made by the people who actually do the work. They’re designed to sell products or give enough information to ensure the products are used correctly. Some courses show the basic techniques of a product.
I don’t believe there are any effective courses to train people in retrofit techniques. It’s all piecemeal or it isn’t suitable. Two day death by power point slideshows aren’t going to show someone how to make a window air tight.
The Retrofit hub has gained a reputation for doing retrofit properly. We don’t cut corners, we pay attention to the details and we work hard to build good relationships with our clients and other project stakeholders.
But trying to recruit people to join our team is difficult. We need people who have practical skills, and we need them to be up to speed as soon as possible. They need to have an understanding of air tightness, insulation techniques, and concepts like vapour permeability and heat loss, so they can make the right decisions on site.
At The Retrofit Hub we encourage discussion between our team. Those with more experience pass it on to newer members, but it’s a slow process. It can take months for that experience to be passed on, and we need to speed this process up.
So, we’re starting our own training centre. Based in Manchester we’ll be delivering courses specifically aimed at passing on our retrofit skills and experience to the wider sector. We’ll be delivering home grown courses designed for those working on site, and we’ll be collaborating with others in the sector to deliver their training or come up with new methods to upskill the work force.
We’re really proud that the first course we’re involved with is in partnership with The Princes Trust in Leeds. We’ll be working with a group of young people from West Yorkshire, introducing them to retrofit and all the different opportunities it offers.
Over five days we’ll be delving into the different aspects of retrofit, from basic concepts and knowledge, to the different roles and responsibilities within the sector.
We’ll be engaging the participants with activities and discussions within structured sessions that explain retrofit in ways that are understandable to newcomers.
It’s essential that we engage young people and encourage them to start a career in construction, but more specifically retrofit. As anyone who is in the industry knows, we have a massive job (that only gets bigger every time a green jobs/homes/deal/grant scheme is cancelled, here’s looking at you Kier Starmer). We don’t have enough people in construction, and they don’t have the skills to carry out retrofit to a high degree of competency yet.
Retrofit should be ingrained in everyone in the construction industry, it shouldn’t be a skill that’s an add on. By making it part of our core knowledge we’ll all be able to make better decisions. Refurbishment and renovation should be led by retrofit principles, and that’s our ethos. Our courses will equip contractors and tradespeople with the knowledge and skills to implement best practice Retrofit. We’re driving positive change in the construction industry.
If you live or work in in the Leeds area and you know anyone 18-25 who may want to find out more about a career in retrofit and how they can get into the sector, please point them either in our direction, or to The Princes Trust.
If you want to find out more about our training and when it will be available, please follow the link below and sign up for our training newsletter.
If you live or work in in the Leeds area and you know anyone 18-25 who may want to find out more about a career in retrofit and how they can get into the sector, please point them either in our direction, or to The Princes Trust.
If you want to find out more about our training and when it will be available, please follow the link below and sign up for our training newsletter.

We’ll also have a waiting list for our Retrofit Essentials course, a one day course which will give you the basic knowledge to understand retrofit. This course was created by retrofit professionals for tradespeople who want to gain an understanding of why retrofit is different from standard building techniques and what concepts they need to know to make the correct decision on site. You won’t be bored to tears watching days of power point slides. We’ll show and discuss retrofit concepts and then you get to focus on your specific area of interest. Our trainers have a deep understanding of retrofit, and the discussion you’ll be involved in will deepen your knowledge and push everyone’s understanding.
This is the first step for anyone who wants to have the right skills for the future of buildings.