12 September 2023
The UK’s first ever dedicated low-carbon heating apprenticeship is set to be launched as the Government has confirmed funding for the scheme.
The Low-Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship will equip a new generation of workers to help reach the Government’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028, as the nation shifts away from fossil fuel heating systems and onto renewables.
The UK will require 57,000 qualified heat pump installers by the end of the decade if we are to meet Government targets for the installation of the renewable energy-powered heating systems. The UK needs to develop a dedicated pipeline of future talent now to make electrification of the country’s heat possible.
Currently, there is no dedicated training provision for heat pump engineers and the Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship will be a UK-first, dedicated to developing the skills needed to design, install and commission low-carbon heating technologies.
The new apprenticeship was developed by the standards body for renewables, MCS, in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) and a trailblazer group of large-scale heat pump installers to meet that gap.
Earlier this year, the apprenticeship was hand-picked by industry experts from IfATE to mark King Charles III’s Coronation in recognition of the important contribution it can make towards encouraging more people to take up careers in green industries. It is one of six green apprenticeships to carry the coronation emblem.
The apprenticeship has now been allocated a funding band of £22,000 by the Department for Education, meaning colleges will receive up to £22,000 for every apprentice they take on. Industry experts say this funding support will help ensure that colleges have the resources they need to take on apprentices from all backgrounds. The funding band is higher than that allocated for equivalent apprenticeships for fossil fuel heating systems.
MCS CEO Ian Rippin said of the apprenticeship:
“We are very excited to see the UK’s first ever heat pump apprenticeship receive government approval.
“Until now, the country’s efforts to increase our number of low-carbon heating installers have been delivered through short bolt-on courses after completion of a traditional fossil fuel heating installation course.
“It is critical that we have dedicated courses to develop an army of renewable heating installers with certifiable skills who know how to design and fit these systems efficiently. Most importantly, this workforce will know how to support British homeowners in heating and decarbonising their homes.”
Chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Jennifer Coupland, said:
“Low carbon heating is at the cutting edge of green tech, and it has been inspiring to work closely with expert employers to create this new opportunity for environmentally minded apprentices.
“This apprenticeship is one of the six IfATE marked with the Coronation emblem earlier this year because it represents the gold-standard for green skills and will ensure employers can access the skilled workforce needed to support the UK in its critical transition to Net Zero.
“We look forward to seeing it being implemented and urge many employers to offer placements as we all have a role to play in tackling climate change and creating green careers that will stand the test of time.”
Andy Louth, Managing Director of heat pump installer Groundtherm and Chair of the employer trailblazer group said:
“It is vitally important that today’s learners are equipped with skills that are fit-for-the-future to help them develop futureproof career paths.
“As an employer, it is reassuring to know that the people I hire will have the necessary skills and access to the right training is the most important part of that. Removing the need for employers to retrain plumbers and heaters in low-carbon technology is a huge step in the right direction.
“The employer trailblazer group provided input into the creation and design of the apprenticeship to ensure learning reflects the real world of work as a renewable heating technician.”
Stephen McGreevy, Head of School, Sustainable Construction & Building Services, at the City of Liverpool College, said
“It is fantastic to see the delivery of the Low Carbon Heating Technician apprenticeship. This course will be vital in providing learners with hands-on technical skill development for a futureproof career in the green sector while also allowing them to earn a living while learning.
“We are particularly pleased to see the apprenticeship receive the funding band it deserves from the Government. The high level of funding will allow colleges like us to take on learners when we wouldn’t otherwise be able to at a time when every penny matters.”