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UK’s First Low-carbon Heating Apprenticeship Secures Government Funding

3 min

The Department for Education has allocated funding for an apprenticeship for those looking to work in installing and maintaining heat pumps. How will this help to decarbonise and encourage more people into the heat pump sector?

Standards body MSC and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) have worked together to develop the Low-Carbon Heating Technician apprenticeship. They have had input from many of the UK’s largest heat pump installation firms.

Nearly 60,000 full-time heat pump technicians will be needed by 2030

The course aims to prepare those looking to enter technical roles in the heat pump sector. It will see their job involve installing and maintaining low-carbon heating systems for buildings.

MCS has estimated that the UK will need to have 57,000 full-time heat pump technicians by 2030 if the country is to meet its installation targets.

Meeting these installation targets is crucial to meeting the UK’s decarbonisation goals because heat pumps are going to play a major role in reaching net zero.

Ian Rippin, MCS’s Chief Executive, explained that more needs to be done to encourage people to work in the heat pump sector: “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.”

He continued by highlighting that having apprenticeships available will help to ensure that insulation is completed safely: “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.

Training will ensure that installations are done efficiently and safely

The Low-Carbon Heating Technician apprenticeship will give colleges the opportunity to be able to claim up to £22,000 for every apprentice that they take on.

This is a higher funding band than is currently on offer for apprenticeships relating to boiler installation and maintenance.

The Department’s confirmation of the funding comes after King Charles marked the apprenticeship with his Coronation emblem earlier in the year. This decision was taken to highlight the need to grow green skills as the UK works towards its climate goals and leveling-up ambitions.

Andy Louth, Managing Director for Groundtherm, expressed that knowing that people have been through the correct training provides confidence: “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 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.

There are other measures to help to see more people train as heat pump installers. This includes a grant by the UK Government of £500 towards heat pump installer training, and the scheme which has seen more than £81 million in vouchers issued to customers so far under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.