Monday, February 1, 2021

BESA launches free heat pump training

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) is launching the industry’s only online training course for heat pump installation to help fill a skills gap highlighted by the government’s flagship Green Homes Grant voucher scheme.

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. They should sign up here now as demand is expected to be high and there will be a charge for the training from May.

This initiative is also 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 grant scheme, which has been extended until March 2022, 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.


Colossal opportunity
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 the Association’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.

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with the HBF and Worcester Bosch because our combined expertise means we can include the most up-to-date knowledge in the training and use people who really understand the subject to deliver it.”

It is also hoped that the availability of training will give small firms in particular the confidence to diversify into this market and take up work offered through the grant scheme. For those employers and engineers who wish to register as a Green Homes Grant Installer, they can find out more here.


HBF director of external affairs John Slaughter said the training course was an important development.


“With the next steps towards implementing the Future Homes Standard recently announced, training installers for the technologies needed is important to ensure the workforce is prepared for the changes that are coming,” he added.


Worcester, Bosch Group also welcomed what it described as an “exciting new training scheme”.

“There is a serious ambition by the government to see an increase in heat pump installations and this course will go some way towards equipping installers with the necessary skills to carry out this important work,” the manufacturer said.


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