The Retrofit Get-in Project aims to create green employment for the multi-skilled live events workers who have been made redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supporting skilled workers

The project was founded in September by freelance sound engineer and production manager, Andrew Glassford, who recognised the opportunity for theatre and live events workers to use their transferable skills to make homes more energy efficient.

“I thought it could bridge that gap for people who don’t have jobs in the city who are really highly skilled and we can take on the climate crisis at the same time,” he told Manchester Evening News.

“Many live events workers for instance are skilled in carpentry, construction, decorating, electrics, hydraulics and plastering. Our goal is to support these skilled workers while theatres and venues are closed because of COVID-19.”

To date, more than 7,000 theatre and live events workers are estimated to have been made redundant across the country as a result of the pandemic. In comparison, recent research suggests that retrofitting homes in northern England has the potential to create 77,000 new jobs.

With the support of Manchester-based retrofit co-operative Red Co-op, the Retrofit Get-in Project has so far re-deployed around a dozen events workers at a home improvement project in Whalley Range.

The founders are now planning to get the support they need to develop a formal training scheme and build a pipeline of local work.

Retrofit challenge

At least 60,000 homes need to be retrofitted to a ‘whole house’ standard every year in Greater Manchester if the city region is to hit its 2038 carbon neutral target.

Delivering the skilled workers required for the huge scale of home retrofit needed is a key focus of the government’s new ‘Green Jobs Taskforce’, which was launched this month.

The government has also extended its Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme scheme until March 2022 to encourage more homeowners to make energy saving improvements to their property.

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