Closing the construction skills gap? DASBE conference told that cooperation is essential

Key education, research and industry leaders in the construction sector recently attended the Transforming Construction Skills Conference hosted by DASBE in Portlaoise.

DASBE (Digital Academy for the Sustainable Built Environment) is a hub for further training in the construction sector. DASBE is a partnership between two higher education institutions, the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) and Atlantic Technological University (ATU), together with industry partners the Irish Green Building Council and Tipperary Energy Agency, and is funded by the Human Capital Initiative Pillar of government. 3.

It provides blended education in crucial areas needed to upskill the construction and renovation sector. The Transforming Construction Skills Conference explored the impact of the DASBE initiative and discussed the future of construction skills in Ireland.

More than 40 new academic courses in the past three years

Seamus Hoyne, Dean of Flexible and Workplace Learning at Shannon University of Technology (TUS), introduced DASBE and outlined how the initiative has successfully developed more than 40 new academic programs over the past three years, all of which are relevant and accessible to the sector with the majority delivered in a mixed or online format.

This will require ‘extensive engagement’ with the industry and new collaborations are constantly being developed. Speaking further on the ‘DASBE Transformation Journey’, he explained how new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, drones and Building Information Modeling (BIM) are being used to ensure that students are exposed to cutting-edge technologies.

“The impact of DASBE has been significant, as have the skills and resource requirements in the built environment. We must continue to work together and develop solutions to meet the needs of the industry,” he said.

The keynote session was delivered by EuroACE Secretary General Adrian Joyce. EuroACE works together with European institutions to help Europe move towards efficient energy use in buildings.

“From an EU perspective, there is a growing recognition that the challenges associated with delivering the wave of renovation strategy on the ground are strongly linked to the development of closer cooperation between educational institutions, industry and public authorities to ensure that we have a strengthened and reskilled workers in the efficient buildings sector. At EuroACE we work together with our 16 members to achieve this goal.”

Delegates were also addressed by TUS President Prof. Vincent Cunnane. “We need to work together to design and develop new ways for people to access learning and create education, training and career pathways for students. Attracting more people into the sector is vital if we are to achieve our housing and climate goals and it is clear that it is an exciting and evolving sector to be involved in.”

For more information about DASBE programs, micro-credentials and virtual reality tools, visit

DASBE is funded by the Higher Education Authority’s HCI Pillar 3, a government program designed to meet priority skills needs, by increasing collaboration between higher education and business, with a focus on innovations in the field of teaching and learning.