UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is launching an online heat pump installation training course to help fill the skills gap in this area.
Said to be the industry’s first of its type, BESA is developing the installer training in collaboration with the Home Builders Federation (HBF) and heating equipment manufacturer Worcester Bosch. It will be delivered through the Association’s online training Academy and goes live in March.
To kickstart the scheme 700 free places are being offered to qualified plumbing and heating engineers looking to upskill and carry out heat pump work.
The initiative is receiving funding from the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as government officials recognise the need to accelerate specialised training to support the Green Homes Grant scheme and to ensure air source heat pumps are correctly installed and maintained.
Heat pumps were highlighted by the Prime Minister as a key technology for delivering many of the government’s decarbonisation goals and he tasked the industry with installing 600,000 a year by 2028. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) also set a target of one million a year by the 2030’s towards an eventual total of 19 million to help achieve the government’s net zero targets.
BESA’s head of technical Graeme Fox said the heat pump market represented “an absolutely colossal opportunity” for suitably qualified engineers but warned that the industry would have “to rapidly scale up capacity and needed considerable investment in additional skills to deliver all these hugely ambitious targets”.
Industry estimates for this year put the current number of heat pump installations at around 71,000. So, ramping that up to achieve the government’s ultimate target would require a huge leap in headcount for the industry. The BESA Academy training scheme is a direct response to that challenge, according to BESA’s director of training and skills Helen Yeulet.
“One of the biggest barriers to increased adoption of heat pump technology and the take up of the green home grants is the lack of suitably qualified installers,” she added. “It is also very important that installations meet a high technical standard and that engineers fully understand the technology, so consumers get the full energy and carbon saving benefits.”
Further details of the scheme can be found here.
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