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Home heat pump install for newly-trained engineers

UK: A UK charity is proposing to give newly trained heat pump installers an air-source heat pump to install in their own home.

The idea being implemented by sustainable innovation charity Nesta is an attempt to overcome what it calls the “first installs problem” and to ascertain whether installing a heat pump in their own house leads to an increase in speed of certification and confidence in skills, as well as increased uptake in heat pump technology.

Based on feedback from the industry, Nesta says it recognises that it can take some time before newly-trained installers are installing heat pumps on a regular basis, and it can even take a long time until they’ve completed their very first installation.

The scheme is targeted at newly trained installers that own or represent a small or micro business, or who are sole traders. 

“This project will provide us with greater knowledge of how to support heating engineers as they enter the heat pump sector – an area where there is currently little insight. By investigating the role that an in-home first install can play in encouraging engineers to move into the sector, this pilot project will provide insights into the challenges that they face and how these can be overcome,” Nesta says.

Nesta says it has identified several challenges that newly trained installers face. For example, they may find it difficult to attract a first customer and get MCS-certified with their successful first install, feel unsure that they have the required practical skills to do a good install or even still have doubts about the usefulness of the technology.

Prior to their training, the charity intends to recruit around 20 heating engineers who have not previously installed heat pumps. After they complete the training, they will start designing their home installation and will then be offered a heat pump.

In order to help learn about the common trajectories of heating engineers after they train for heat pump installations, the scheme also proposes to have a control group of newly-trained installers who do not receive a heat pump to install at home. The experiences will then be compared across the two groups. 

Nesta is looking for partners to help deliver the intervention and a steering group, who will advise on its trajectory.

Recruitment of participants is expected to begin in March and April. 

Those interested in becoming a partner or a member of the steering group should contact [email protected].

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