BELGIUM: The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) is calling for EU support for skills development and training for the heat pump sector.
It warns that Europe is already 500,000 heat pump installers short of the number required to achieve the EU’s REPowerEU ambitions, and the problem is set to worsen if it is not tackled.
The EHPA estimates that the total number of employees in the European heat pump industry to be nearly 117,000 people. About 37% of these work in heat pump manufacturing. There are currently 170 heat pump manufacturing sites in Europe, with a turnover of €14.5bn,
The EHPA estimates that around 125,000 more installers are needed, on top of the 500,000 we are already short of, if the seven million more heat pump installs by 2030, as required by REPowerEU, is to be achieved.
To tackle this, the EHPA is calling for EU support for skills development and training for the heat pump sector. Broadening the pool of workers, including attracting young people and ensuring security of employment, could help with the shortfall. This should be matched with a wider range of training sessions which could be managed by schools, heat pump associations, heat pump manufacturers, and institutes.
This thorny issue was tackled by speakers at a webinar last week organised by the EHPA as part of the EU-funded HP4All project, which focuses on skills.
“Connecting manufacturers and suppliers with the installers is crucial,” observed Stephen Murphy, lecturer and researcher at the Technological University of the Shannon in Ireland.
Rolf Iver Mytting Hagemoen, secretary general of Norwegian heat pump association NOVAP, revealed that although electricity is the main heating source in his country, training programmes for heat pump technicians were not yet good enough. “Cooperation remains pivotal, not only to develop training courses but also apprenticeships and consumer guidelines,” he stated.
Frantisek Doktor, senior advisor at the ViaEuropa Competence Centre, said that it was important that public authorities looked past just boosting heat pumps and also “fund the schools, training centres and courses as they are just as important. Many people are interested in those sector trainings,” he said.
A recording of the webinar, entitled Heat Pump Skills and Competencies, Preparing for Mass Deployment, can be viewed here.