Behind initiatives such as the London 2012 legacy and the Regeneration Project lies a fundamental rethinking of the way that society and economic systems need to work. And that’s going to need an entirely re-skilled construction industry

The London 2012 commitment to sustainable regeneration has given an additional push to this area of the industry, placing the issue at the forefront of UK construction. And with the Climate Change Act committing the UK to reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, there has never been a greater need for the industry to respond to these challenges.

To do this, new skills are needed across the industry to support the development and adoption of strategies to deliver a more sustainable built environment. So, for those who do not have them already, now is the perfect time to learn some new skills.

In this latest courses feature, we consider the London 2012 Olympics against the backdrop of sustainable regeneration before, overleaf, looking at three courses that could position industry professionals at all levels to get in on some of the construction work that will follow the main event this summer.

In the Olympic Delivery Authority’s (ODA) planning application for London 2012, it stressed the importance of providing infrastructure and utilities that would form the backbone for future communities. The proposed objectives included maximising the beneficial use of urban land, ensuring that sustainable proposals evolve to deliver physical, economic and social change.

By stimulating private sector investment and creating job opportunities, the link between regeneration and economic growth is paramount to a sustainable future.

The ODA aims to establish sustainable communities with balanced and mixed population profiles. To do this, industry expertise in long-lasting sustainability will be required.

This year. the Regeneration Project is also launched. This is a collaboration between sustainability research companies SustainAbility and GlobeScan that uses the Rio+20 summit in June as a milestone from which to look back over the past 25 years of sustainability. The idea is to learn from the past and influence our future in a positive way by hearing from some of the leading sustainability pioneers who helped frame the original UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Like London 2012, the project looks at ways the private sector can improve sustainability strategy and deliver results at greater speed

Founders of the project say it is critical to pass on the lessons learned in the hope that present and future leaders will avoid making the same mistakes, make faster progress towards a sustainable future and avoid the worst effects of climate change, social upheaval and eco system destruction.

Like London 2012, the project looks at ways in which the private sector can improve sustainability strategy and deliver results at greater speed and scale. The pioneers of the scheme acknowledge the progress that is being made in areas of local government innovation, citizen participation, clean energy and technology development, but say that a fundamental re-evaluation of the current economic system is needed.

Now is the time for the construction industry to take on board this urgency and address these challenges. Solutions include creating energy-efficient buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings, which requires knowledge of new skills and technologies.

What’s on offer

Sustainable Cities MA, Part-time, London Metropolitan University

Jane Lewis, course director, says: “Most of our UK students are in their 30s or 40s, which reflects their place on the career ladder, whereas the international students are slightly younger. All of the domestic UK students taking the part-time course are employed in the industry, either working as architects or with jobs in housing, policy or regeneration. They want to broaden their skills and move up the career ladder quickly. We have a high success rate and most of our students get better jobs after completing the course.

“Increasingly people are realising how important the way cities work is for the economy. There has been an urban renaissance since the 1990s with the industrial decline and big changes have taken place. Globally, cities are growing so fast and this is high on the agenda at the moment. Britain needs international competitiveness and the types of cities we had in the past aren’t sustainable for the future.

“The multi-disciplinary aspect of the course looks at what works and what doesn’t in terms of policy and project management for future regeneration. Students can apply these practical skills to the jobs they are working in, which helps them to see things differently.

The case studies we use, such as the Olympics, provide useful regeneration tools and knowledge of what makes a sustainable city.”

How to apply: September 2012, part-time. UK and EU students: £700 per 20 credit module. For an application form contact: 020 7133 4202 or email:

MSc/PgDip/PgCert Housing, Regeneration and Sustainability, part-time, University of Salford

Dr Patricia Tzortzopoulos Fazenda, programme director, says: “As described in documents such as the Low Carbon Construction Report 2010, the industry will need to be deeply engaged with different skills, experience and capacity, to enable government and national targets to be met. That will influence both existing and new facilities of all types. The MSc in Sustainable Building Design addresses current skills needed for designers, architects and M&E engineers for the development of sustainable design solutions, with appropriate collaboration across the design and construction processes and the support of different technologies.

“The programme will support professionals in responding to current challenges in client demands and expectations and societal needs. The programme also emphasises the use of digital design technologies such as building information modelling, as means to support the achievement of low-carbon, sustainable solutions.

“The course is very popular and we envisage an increase in student interest due to the need for the industry to respond to the challenges highlighted above.”

How to apply: Intake September 2012/January 2013. Part-time fees per year range from £1,033 to £1,625 per 30 credits. Online application form at:

The National Construction College, ‘Cut the carbon in construction - Green deal awareness’ workshop

John Middleton, principal lecturer at the National Construction College, says: “We want to highlight to small companies that sustainable building doesn’t mean increased costs, which is often the perception.

“There is not a lot of knowledge in the industry about how the government’s Green Deal programme works and how companies can receive funding to get their staff qualified in sustainable construction. There is a lot of work for small companies and contractors in areas such as installation to improve the energy efficiency of houses. This could potentially lead to increased company profits over time.”

Workshops run throughout the year in various locations across the UK: £55 per delegate. To book online visit or call 0844 844 0466