In India, Gyproc, Saint-Gobain’s plaster solutions company, noticed that a rapid development of the industry led to an increased demand for skilled professionals. In response, Gyproc has been working to bridge the gap between the industry’s needs and availability of a skilled workforce. They have since developed a three-month residential training program tailored for individuals entering the sector.
Variations of these academies are present in most countries where Saint-Gobain is positioned. “We are upskilling the workforce not only on how to use our solutions but also how to build more sustainably,” explains Grall.
Sustainable construction is a common and global objective: Saint-Gobain shares these values with other construction businesses. For example, CEMEX, the Mexican multinational building materials company, is one of 200 companies to have joined the All4YOUth, a business initiative aiming to strengthen the capabilities of young professionals in the professional world and reduce the proportion of unemployed youth. In parallel, CEMEX has also created its own Sustainable Construction Academy, a global program designed to educate their customers on sustainable design and construction practices.
Sustainable Education Integrated into Universities
Education around sustainable construction has become a staple in the industry and a core part of university curriculums around the world. At ETH Zurich, Switzerland’s leading public research university, a yearly lecture series “The Sustainable Development Goals in Context,” imparts valuable knowledge on construction, sustainability, preservation, circularity, decarbonizing the building sector, and energy.
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Another example can be seen at the National University of Singapore. With the program Urban Climate Design Lab (UCDL), a group of students and researchers have transformed the school into an open-lab for climate sustainability and resilience research among architects, urban planners, geographers, fluid mechanic scientists, and climatologists.
There is undoubtedly a collective effort to educate not only the current and upcoming workforce on adopting more sustainable practices, but also the greater public. The transition toward building a sustainable industry isn’t going to happen overnight. It is through the commitments we are making as an industry – by our businesses and universities – to educate and create a specialized workforce, that we will be able to impart change. For Saint-Gobain, extending its training programs across all its stakeholders only marks a decisive step. The key is to equip the future of the industry with the tools, information, and resources they need to build differently.