HPA Encouraged By Results Of Training Consultation

The results have been revealed from a consultation on qualification criteria for low carbon heating system training courses.

The consultation was carried by a Coalition of Heating Industry bodies with particular interests in Low Carbon Heating Systems. A Training Strategy published by the Heat Pump Association (HPA) alongside the consultation lays out how the heating industry needs to transform to enable the wider adoption of heat pumps throughout the UK building stock.

The Strategy contains five clear steps for how a plumbing and heating engineer can be trained to meet the new challenges we face in trying to achieve the UK goal of a zero carbon future, reducing administration cost, and recommending to government that they support a training voucher scheme for the first 5,000 installers to go through the new course.

The consultation survey ran throughout June and asked 21 questions centred around the proposed content for heat pump training courses. A total of 123 participants completed the survey. The majority of respondents were largely gas boiler or heat pump installers, with generally strong support given around the proposed new training route and course content outlines.

The key results from the consultation were:

  • 98% of respondents were positive about the content proposed for the Heat Pump Foundations course.
  • Over 66% of respondents indicated that they would be likely or very likely to attend the course.
  • The course content for the Air Source Heat Pump (ASHP) specific course was well-rated by 96% of respondents.

Many respondents cited that cost was a key consideration, with suggestions of a voucher scheme/incentive for installers to carry out this training. Regulatory requirement to do so was repeated as a key motivation if this course was mandatory to keep working, while others cited age as a reason that they would not attend.

86% of respondents were either in agreement or of no opinion regarding the proposed length of time for the course (two days for the heat pump foundation course with one day for each technology). Some suggested that an on-site follow-up assessment at a later date will be needed to ensure quality.

Graham Wright, Chairman of the HPA, says, “The results of this consultation are an encouraging indication that the installer base is in agreement that skills need to be at the required level in order to ensure traditional methods of heating are phased out and low carbon heating systems are embraced. We would like to thank everybody who took part in the consultation, it has been very useful to see the feedback on our proposed Training Strategy.”

He continues, “While we have seen a commitment from government towards low carbon heat in order to meet our net-zero targets, it is up to us as an industry to communicate regularly and put the right training in place that will move our industry forward.”

Notes:

  • The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that a widespread transformation from boilers to heat pumps and other low carbon heating systems will need to take place in the next 10-15 years; the industry bodies backing these criteria consider them essential to ensuring sufficient heating engineers are equipped with the necessary training and skills to bring about a challenging, but achievable acceleration of low carbon heating.
  • The criteria for the generic Low Temperature Heating course have been developed by the Chartered Institute of Heating and Plumbing Engineers, and for the Heat Pump course, by the Heat Pump Association, both in wide consultation with manufacturers, and other industry bodies.
  • The CIPHE and HPA will collate the responses for each set of criteria respectively, and finalise the criteria before submitting to Ofqual for approval and inclusion in the relevant Competent Persons Schemes. It is expected the first training courses being run to these criteria will be available by the end of 2020.
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