Training opportunities available for heating and retrofit professionals

Two training schemes, funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, launched on the 21st of September which aim to upskill thousands of professionals. The Heat Training Grant for Heat Networks and the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition both support the UK’s target towards net zero by 2050 by offering courses on heat networks and retrofit skills respectively.

The two schemes will offer courses that support the workforce to be trained in:
• Installation of domestic insulation measures
• Retrofit assessor and co-ordination skills
• Installing and maintaining heat networks

Following the competition element of the second phase of the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition, we have appointed 13 training providers to the scheme as of 21st of September.

This phase of the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition aims to deliver around 8,000 courses to upskill individuals who are already working in the sector as well as offering opportunities to those who are new to it. The training providers will deliver:
• Skills training in the installation of individual energy efficiency measures supported by government funded retrofit schemes, and/or
• Training in retrofit assessor and retrofit coordinator skills, leading to certification.

Retrofitting existing buildings is vital to achieving the UK’s net zero target, as more than 30 million homes in the country need to be decarbonised. Buildings play a crucial role in our lives, and heating and powering homes accounts for 40% of energy demand and 30% of carbon emissions in the UK.

Over £6bn is being invested by the Government on low carbon heating and improving the energy efficiency of buildings across a range of schemes including Home Upgrade Grant and Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund. The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition will increase the number of trained installers and retrofit professionals needed to deliver energy efficiency installations at scale.

The Home Decarbonisation Skills Training courses will be available from now until March 2024. The list of successful candidates in this phase are:

  1. DMR Training and Consultancy Ltd
  2. Edwards Hart Ltd
  3. Elmhurst Energy System
  4. Exeter College
  5. GTEC Training Ltd
  6. London Skills & Development Network
  7. Reed in Partnership Ltd
  8. Retrofit Academy
  9. SB Skills Solutions Ltd
  10. The Insulation Assurance Authority Commercial Services (IAACS)
  11. Think Construction Skills Ltd
  12. UK Skills Academy
  13. Unyte Academy

Through the Heat Training Grant, five approved training providers will be offering vouchers of up to £500 for trainees taking part in heat network short courses. This includes The BESA Academy, Chirpy Heat, CIBSE, Herts Energy Academy, and Sycous Limited. Training will be provided between October 2023 – April 2024, after which Year Two of the Heat Training Grant will commence.

Heat networks are critical technologies for decarbonising heat and the number of networks in England is steadily growing. However, a clear skills gap and lack of available courses is limiting this technology’s potential.

The Heat Training Grant aims to tackle this by giving learners the specialist skills they need to install and maintain heat networks, amongst other things. The Heat Training Grant will support training courses covering design, build, operation, and maintenance, targeting the heat networks life cycle. The heat network courses are aimed at trainees with existing heating, construction, or building services experience, including water services and industrial plants. The grant will support training to at least March 2025.

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.

The Heat Training Grant is also supporting heat pump training opportunities through 60 approved training providers across England.

The courses for both the Heat Training Grant and Home Decarbonisation Skills Training have been designed around anticipated requirements in domestic retrofit and low carbon heating. They will look to address shortages that currently exist within the supply chain and build resilience as we work towards the UK’s net zero target.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:

“The UK is a world leader when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, and we’re investing billions of pounds to help decarbonise the nation’s heating, saving homes and businesses energy and cutting bills. To do that we’re helping to improve the energy efficiency of homes and ensure they have access to cutting-edge low-carbon heating technologies such as heat pumps and heat networks.

“With consumer demand for these measures set to surge in the coming years, the funding announced today will help to create the skilled workforce that will be needed.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Net Zero Hub, said: “It is fantastic that thousands of courses will be available to support heating and construction professionals to upskill. To be able to achieve our net zero ambitions, we need to build resilience in the market by training people to appropriately install and maintain retrofit measures and low carbon technologies. Through the national programmes we have run on behalf of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, we see the difference that skills training opportunities make for the trainees, while also giving the training providers confidence to deliver these courses.”