£9.2m grant funding available to help training providers upskill the domestic retrofit workforce

Today (20th September 2022), the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition (HDSTC) has been launched by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which will support the upskilling of the domestic retrofit workforce.

£9.2m of grant funding has been made available through the competition to registered training providers based in England. The aim of the competition, which is being facilitated by the Midlands Net Zero Hub, is to award funding to a range of suppliers to deliver accredited training at scale to the retrofit, energy efficiency and heat pump sectors.
Through the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition, Further Education colleges, training academies and manufacturer training centres can bid for up to £1m to deliver one or more of the following work packages:

  • Retrofit assessor and retrofit coordinator: provision and delivery of training to PAS 2035 standards
  • Insulation: provision and delivery of training to National Occupation Standards or higher in the installation of domestic insulation measures – underfloor, internal and external wall, and loft
  • Heat pumps: provision and delivery of training to National Occupation ad MCS standards in the installation of domestic heat pumps – air and ground source.

These work packages have been designed around anticipated industry requirements and will look to address key shortage areas that currently exist within the supply chain. The competition is expected to deliver an estimated 8,900 courses across the three work packages.

Tackling climate change remains a priority in the UK, and in 2019, the Government set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. To achieve this goal, more than 30 million homes need to be decarbonised.

Buildings play a crucial role in our lives, and in the UK, heating and powering homes accounts for 40% of energy demand and 30% of carbon emissions. Domestic retrofit is a vital part of the Government’s ambition to deliver net zero by 2050. This competition will increase the number of trained installers and retrofit professionals needed to deliver energy efficiency and low carbon heating installations at scale. By supporting the sector in this way, BEIS hope to ensure that the UK has a reliable, low-cost, and clean energy system.

Energy efficiency remains the best approach to reducing fuel poverty in the long-term, contributing to warmer homes and reduced energy bills as well reducing carbon emissions. That is why BEIS is investing £6.6 billion in total this parliament through ‘Help to Heat’ schemes to improve energy efficiency across the country, benefiting tens of thousands of homes through initiatives such as the Home Upgrade Grant and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund.

The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition builds on the success of the first iteration of the scheme (Green Homes Grant Skills Training Competition), which saw nearly 7,000 training courses completed through 17 training providers, with an overall satisfaction rate of 92%.

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Net Zero Hub, said: “We’re pleased to be involved in delivering the second Skills Training Competition on behalf of BEIS, following the success of the Green Homes Grant Skills Training Competition. Through our delivery of domestic retrofit schemes in the Midlands, we can see how vital the upskilling of the workforce is to ensure that energy efficiency improvements and low carbon technologies installed are compliant and deliver real benefits to those who are living in homes that may be hard to heat and power.

“In the first iteration of the Skills Training Competition, we were able to support training providers nationally to provide courses that were very well received by learners. We would like to encourage providers to apply for the Homes Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition to bid for this funding.”

The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition is open for application until 17th October 2022. Interested providers can read the full Competition Guidance and download the application form on the UK Government’s website.