The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has announced that the UK’s first ever heat pump installer apprenticeship will receive government funding to train 57,000 heat pump installers by the end of the decade.
The Low-Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship will help to achieve the government’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028.
As Current± reported in June, there were previously no dedicated training courses for heat pump engineers. The Low Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship will be the first dedicated to developing the skills needed to design, install and commission low-carbon heating technologies.
The apprenticeship has been developed by the MCS, the standards body for renewables, in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), as well as a “trailblazer” group of heat pump installers.
The apprenticeship was waiting to be awarded a funding band by the Department for Education, and training colleges will now receive up to £22,000 for every apprentice.
MCS says that this “attractive funding support” will mean that colleges have the resources needed to support apprentices from all backgrounds, and that “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 pleased that the UK’s first ever heat pump apprenticeship received 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 pathways 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 homeowners in heating and decarbonising their homes.”
Chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Jennifer Coupland, said: “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: “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.”
Other measures taken to encourage more people to train as heat pump installers include a government grant of £500 towards heat pump installer training, and a partnership between heat pump supplier Daikin UK and Quantum Group to roll out bespoke Renewable Training Facilities at around 150 further education colleges that already offer built environment study programmes.