John Kelly is the Manager of the LOETB – National Construction Training Centre, Mount Lucas, County Offaly and recently he took me on a tour of the 33-acre sight.
It is the only place in Ireland doing the national scaffolding apprenticeship which was officially launched in July by Minister Simon Harris. At the time he also announced a major extension to the retrofitting centre.
When LOETB designed the Scaffolding Course they developed it in consultation with industry as John explains, there were three things they wanted to do;
1. To recognize scaffolding as a craft
2. Professionalize the industry
3. To improve health and safety in the area
Mount Lucas is also a key player in the Government’s pursuit of 300,000 retrofit homes by 2030.
Their Retrofit and NZEB courses are hugely popular. The retrofit insulation course aims to provide participants the knowledge and skills to insulate a building using best practise. This includes internal, external, floor and roof insulation. And just like the scaffolding area, the hands on experience is truly remarkable.
There are specifically designed bay areas. John shows me round the Ventilation bays, and nearby attic training rigs where apprentices can simulate real life. There are roof structures, water tanks and demo models of radiators where instructors explain the mechanics of how it works.
The NZEB course provides participants with the knowledge in the general principles and practices of Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) to effectively design ventilation flowrates, install ventilation systems and commission ventilation systems.
You can see why Mount Lucas is playing a leading role in the area Construction. As a centre of excellence, it is certainly equipped to meet the challenges we face as a country under the Climate Action agenda. The Midlands will certainly be at the centre of building a new Ireland.
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