Raising green construction professionals in Mongolia
In recent years, rapid growth in Mongolia's construction industry has resulted in the creation of large-scale apartment complexes and districts, while the number of private housing projects has concurrently multiplied. Following this, the demand for construction workers and professionals has increased, jointly with growing interest by students who want to major in construction-related fields.
Despite its fast and wide expansion, the development of the construction industry is also presenting Mongolia with many challenges such as the lack of implementation of occupational safety regulations, poor building quality, and construction waste management.
One solution is to adequately prepare and train the relevant labor force.
Since 2012, the EU-funded SWITCH-Asia "Greener construction project", led by Caritas Czech Republic, has been operating in Mongolia to introduce more environmental-friendly practices and products into Mongolia's construction sector.
The project addresses workers and professionals in the construction sector, who are trained according to an innovative training package that was developed by the project partner, the Swedish environmental institute IVL, following multiple field visits and interactive consultations with key stakeholders in the country, including state agencies, universities and vocational training schools, and professionals from the private sectors.
One objective of the project is to incorporate the content of this training package on "green construction practices" (GCP) in the academic curriculum of vocational and training institutions and universities, so to contribute to the development of a new generation of construction industry specialists, equipped with modern, environmentally friendly and ecologically sound knowledge paired with practical training on health and safety standards.
Based on European best practices adjusted to the Mongolian context, the project-developed training materials provide theoretical background complemented with practical and concrete cases. Covering all the different aspects of the construction process (enhanced building design, energy efficiency, insulation, water-saving technologies, waste management, quality process management and occupational health and safety), they place a special focus on environment-friendly products and practices. Specific training modules are available for each target group, including decisions makers, professional workers and SMEs.
To date, the project has trained 176 teachers on how to teach GCP and 518 students have already chosen this subject during the present academic year.
Between 2013 and 2015, cooperation agreements were signed with 11 Mongolian vocational and training institutions, colleges and universities (architecture and engineering faculties) in three main cities: Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan and Erdenet.
At these schools, both students and teachers expressed high interest in learning and applying GCPs. The results of a monitoring survey conducted in May show that five schools involved in the project have already incorporated the materials into their curriculum, while the other six schools will start teaching it in the next academic year beginning in September.
Incorporating this training material not only increases students' awareness on environmental sustainability but also paves the way for larger-scale implementation of green practices as Mongolia's construction boom continues.
(Author: Caritas Czech Republic - Editor: Silvia Sartori)