DASBE, TUS and HCI representatives pictured at the HCI Collaboration Nation Conference in June 2023.

The Digital Academy for the Sustainable Built Environment ( provides blended education in critical areas needed to upskill the construction and retrofit sectors.

Digital Academy for the Sustainable Built Environment (DASBE), championing sustainable practices in the built environment, is a collaborative hub between two technological universities, the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) and the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest (TUS), and two industry partners, the Irish Green Building Council and the Tipperary Energy Agency.

Funding is provided by the government’s Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3, covering 33% to 50% of course costs ranging from Certificates and Diplomas through to Higher Diplomas and Master’s Degrees. An additional funding stream of 80% funding is available for over 52 micro-credential courses specifically aimed at the construction industry through the HCI Pillar 3 under the DASBE banner.

Lis O’Brien, Manager, DASBE, says that the Academy demonstrates how collaboration with industry and other education organisations can support new skills in the sector and that the 70-plus courses available through DASBE have been curated or developed and delivered to meet the changing needs of an industry that is in a fast ever-changing transition.

She comments: “The construction industry has faced issues due to lack of formal training and skills amongst workers and more recently upskilling of professionals and tradespeople. DASBE subsidised courses and micro-credentials are aimed at people working in the Irish construction sector at all levels, whether construction professionals and tradespeople looking to expand their BIM or sustainable design and construction qualifications or general operatives entering formal third-level education for the first time.

“Courses are available for architects, engineers, building surveyors, construction managers, craft workers, architectural technologists, tradespeople and general operatives. We have seen a particularly high uptake of our housing retrofit programmes amongst tradespeople and general operatives.”

The Higher Diploma In Retrofitting is an 18-month programme with three embedded certificates. These certificates cover fabric, services, smart builds, ventilation, circularity and management.

DASBE programmes run from Level 6 to Level 9 on the NFQ. This means that workers who entered the construction industry after completing their leaving certificate or equivalent and have built up their skill set over the years can add accredited qualifications to their resumes. They could also take this opportunity to start the journey to upskill from certificates (Level 6) through to Masters Degrees (Level 9), all at their own pace.

Short courses with micro-credentials can also serve as a stepping stone for school leavers unsure about their career path. A short eight- to 12-week course allows individuals to explore different fields before committing to a longer apprenticeship or entering the construction industry with a basis of digital or retrofit skills.

The broad range of courses available through DASBE as online/blended deliveries include: • Certificate in BIM for Facilities Managers

  • Building Information Modelling Collaboration
  • Certificate in 3D Content & Assets for Virtual Reality
  • Certificate in Assessing Traditional Buildings
  • Certificate in Circular Economy Leadership for the Built Environment
  • Certificate in Decarbonising the Built Environment • Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in Environmental Infrastructure
  • Certificate in Residential Retrofit Site Coordination
  • Certificate in Green Procurement in Construction; and
  • Certificate in Drones for Construction.


On Thursday, 09 May, DASBE will host the ‘Transforming Construction Skills Conference’, which will take place at the Midlands Park Hotel, Portlaoise. The conference brings together leading educators, industry representatives and experts to showcase collaborative efforts to respond to the multiple challenges of decarbonising buildings, expanding the circular economy and adapting digital technologies.

The conference is for those interested in finding solutions to the skills challenges within the built environment. It will also enable delegates to meet with industry experts and stakeholders to explore the solutions developed by the DASBE team and their partners and discuss new and emerging opportunities for collaboration and innovation.



Lis O’Brien says that DASBE will launch its ‘Digital Platform for Construction Training’ courses at the conference.

She explains: “The DASBE Platform is an online resource where after creating an account, users can save and access their certificates at any time they are needed, now and in the future. The new platform will also support learners with a training plan and suggest other courses that can be taken based on learners’ progress.”

The aim is for the DASBE Digital Platform to serve as a one-stop shop for all construction courses in Ireland. It will also provide links to relevant websites like CIF and Construction Professionals Skillnet.


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


To learn more about DASBE programmes or to book your place at the Transforming Construction Skills Conference 2024, visit

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