New training scheme launches to upskill heating professionals

A new training scheme launched this week is expected to deliver 10,000 opportunities to upskill heating professionals in England.

The Heat Training Grant scheme is being managed by the Midlands Net Zero Hub on behalf of the Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. Training opportunities for heat pumps and heat networks will be supported from Spring 2023 to at least March 2025.

Moving away from traditional gas boilers to low-carbon heat pumps and heat networks is critical to decarbonising how we heat buildings. In order to meet the UK’s target to be net zero by 2050, thousands more engineers will need to learn how to install and maintain these technologies.

The Government’s data shows that around 23% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from heating the 30 million buildings in the country. Heating domestic properties accounts for 17% of the UK’s emissions.

It is estimated that 80% of people who will be working in the UK in 2030 are already in the workforce. The courses through the Heat Training Grant are aimed at trainees with existing heating, construction or building services experience rather than apprenticeships or new entrants to the sector.

From today, over 60 approved training providers will be offering vouchers of up to £500 for trainees taking part in heat pump short courses. People who are interested in the courses can find out if they are eligible online, and a full list of providers offering the grant can be found on the Government’s website.

In other countries, heat pumps are popular and have high levels of satisfaction, but high capital costs and limited supply chain mean that the UK’s take up is lower. In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the UK Government has committed to ensuring that heat pumps are no more expensive to install and run than a traditional gas boiler by 2030. Upskilling the low-carbon sector is key to developing the next generation of skilled workers.

In addition to the heat pump training opportunities, the Hub is also working with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to launch a competition for courses relating to heat networks this summer. Applications for the Heat Training Grant: Heat Network Competition are open now and will close on 8 August 2023.

Heat networks are critical technologies for decarbonising heat and the number of networks in England is steadily growing. The 2020 Heat Network Skills Review found that the sector already faced a skills gap which would be exacerbated as the industry grows. Training providers can apply for the competition to offer trainees up to £500 towards eligible heat network courses. A webinar will be held for interested training providers from 2-3pm on Friday 21st July 2023. Find out more about the webinar and reserve your spot now.

The Heat Training Grant scheme builds on previous successful Skills Training competitions run through the Midlands Net Zero Hub. The Green Homes Grant Training competition, which completed in October 2021, saw more than 6,900 courses completed. The courses were well received with a 92% learner satisfaction rate.

The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training scheme saw a further £9.2m of grant funding awarded to training providers to offer over 8,900 courses. This scheme will be completed in July 2023.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said: “Heat pumps and heat networks are critical technologies for decarbonising heat – and play an important role in the country’s push towards net zero.

“With consumer demand set to surge in the coming years, we have committed to helping industry manufacture our own heat pumps and we will need thousands more expert installers ready for action.  This grant will not only give the rollout of heat pumps and heat networks a huge boost but will help to develop a skilled workforce who will reap the rewards of joining a thriving installer market.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Net Zero Hub, said: “It’s fantastic that we’re able to work with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero to continue to deliver skills training to support the Net Zero agenda. Research shows that at least 12,400 heat pump installers will be needed by 2025 as demand for low-carbon technologies grows, so it is imperative that we create opportunities to build more resilience into the supply chain through training opportunities.

“To achieve Net Zero, we need transformational change in the way we heat and power our buildings, and I hope that the trainees find the Heat Training Grant courses valuable for developing their skills.”