Ukraine's Expert Interbranch Association
Training for a greener world is at the heart of one of two Ukrainian finalists in the European Training Foundation's GreenSkills Awards, the winners of which were announced last June.
NGO Expert Interbranch Association of Ukraine (EMAU) has designed a new curriculum for residential building managers, which aims to retrain maintenance managers in environmentally friendly technologies. Its EMAU-Academy training academy has established the new approach with 18 universities around the country over the past four years that includes a "module on the implementation of international environmental management standards and energy-saving technologies," says Olga Maksymenko, EMAU's president.
The EMAU-Academy training centre began its work with universities in July 2016 as awareness grew in Ukraine of the need for more environmentally sensitive building management. In a country with a continental climate with hot summers and harsh winters, ensuring maximum energy efficiency and minimal environmental impact, is becoming a growing issue.
Working with a curriculum approved by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine, EMAU updates its courses every two years to take into account the latest developments in the field and legal changes that are updating standards in residential building management.
"Much attention is paid to the issues of harmonisation of legislation and standards of Ukraine and the EU, implementation of international requirements for environmental safety, and implementation of energy saving projects in the housing sector of Ukraine," Olga says.
So far, the scheme has trained more than 1,000 specialists, with a switch to on-line courses during the pandemic ensuring no interruption in the trainings. EMAU-Academy's approach has been boosted by new regulations, introduced in January 2019, making the professional certification of specialists in managing residential buildings mandatory. EMAU experts are now working to "develop a range of professional standards for the property management professions," Olga says, adding: "The standards take into account competencies needed for a green economy."
The project both aims to train up a new cadre of environmentally aware building management specialists and to increase awareness of green building practices in Ukraine. By adapting and improving the teaching of building management, the trainings help boost the growth of a greener approach in a sector that impacts upon all Ukrainians.
In the longer term, "Eco-elements will be included in the professional standards for the profession of apartment building manager," Olga says, noting that energy efficiency and ecological impact of management practices will increasingly become core to the job.
The new training courses have been introduced at a time of rapid change in Ukraine's building services market, with this both driving and being driven by new approaches to the sector.
"Ukraine is now in the stage of changes - a project is being implemented to form a National Qualifications System, which means there is a good situation for making changes in this profession," Olga says.
"Work is now underway to develop professional standards, including for residential building managers, as well as business leaders that provide services for apartment buildings. These standards will contain eco-elements and changes made to environmental and energy efficiency knowledge when certifying specialists."
The EMAU-Academy courses cover all aspects of these changes, including the "study of software tools that allow predictions on the results of applying certain technologies." There are also practical training elements where trainees are offered the chance to work with industry leaders in the field.
EMAU, which is registered at the Institute of Labour and Employment under the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, as the official developer of professional standards in the field, is also applying a social dimension to its work.
"We also cooperate with the State Employment Center of Ukraine in the development and use of various instruments of state support and financing of training for those who want to train as residential building managers," Olga adds.
"We are now discussing the implementation of a project to retrain young people who have returned from the army. Initiated by the Ministry of Veterans of Ukraine, this project is being implemented jointly with the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Utilities of Ukraine in partnership with EMAU. It is planned to implement a pilot-project to train the first group of participants in this project."