A County Durham firm has won funding to train more than a hundred new air source heat pump installers as the region gears up to the generational challenge of switching to renewable energy.
The Go Green training academy in Peterlee – the first heat pump training centre in the whole of the North East – has invited applications to its Skills Bootcamp campaign which will dramatically boost the number of qualified installers in the region.
And with the funding now in place, Go Green director Brian Wear believes that more than 100 new installers can be trained by the end of the year.
The drive has been funded through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which has donated a six-figure sum to incentivise big business, small and medium-sized firms down to sole traders, to take part.
Heat pumps are electrically powered fan heaters which effectively act like refrigerators in reverse – taking warm air from outside and pumping it into homes – and the Government has set a target to deploy at least 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028 in order to achieve its net zero ambitions.
Over time, heat pumps will replace old, less energy-efficient boilers which currently power the vast majority of UK homes but one of the challenges is that many thousands of workers will need to train on how to install the new units.
The Heat Pump Association estimates that 50,200 fully trained heat pump installers will be needed to meet the million heat pump installs a year targetted for 2030.
Installing a heat pump requires different skills from those involved in fitting and maintaining a gas boiler and meeting Government targets will mean a significant programme of retraining among existing home heat workers.
The UK has the numbers – it has nearly 150,000 heating and ventilation engineers in the UK – and retraining represents a business opportunity within an emerging market, as well as offering job stability and future security.
Brian said: “We’re delighted to win funding to run the boot camp because this offers a quick fix in terms of getting dozens of fully qualified heat pump installers out there in a matter of months.
“The public are turning more and more to heat pumps as they realise the technology is the future and can cut energy costs and fuel bills as well as helping the environment.
“With this funding, the North East LEP is helping to tackle an existing need and helping to ensure there will be no backlog or waiting lists building up in the near future.”
The Go Green Skills Bootcamp is an eight-day course being held every fortnight and taking place at the company premises at 3 Fern Court, Peterlee, Durham, SR8 2RR.
The course costs £2,200 but the places are 100 per cent fully funded for sole traders, 90 per cent funded for SME’s and 70 per cent funded for large businesses.
For admission to the course, entrants must have Level 2 Heating & Plumbing certification OR equivalent and will need to provide any Plumbing, Heating/Ventilation, Gas or Oil certificates they currently hold.
The course has already been endorsed by those who have been among the first to reskill.
Daniel Watson, of Workington, Cumbria, said: “It’s always healthy to have different qualifications, everything moves on. I can see a lot more people coming on the course.”
And Fabrizi Peddis from Morpeth, Northumberland added: “We believe in this new technology and we just want to expand our services for the customer obviously and do our bit for the environment.
“It’s doing our bit as a company to come out of fossil fuel and then do our bit to provide renewable energy to the customer.
“I think that’s the way forward really, heat pumps renewables, hot water., PV systems, that will be the way forward really.”