Learning about low temperature heating systems

The early part of this year will see the first group of learners complete the new Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Training, devised by the CIPHE and delivered in partnership with LCL Awards and a number of industry manufacturers. PHAM News recently spoke with CIPHE chief executive office Kevin Wellman about the course and the Institute’s involvement.

The course is a result of a collaboration between the Institute, the HPA, manufacturers and training providers. Do you think it offers good evidence of how well the industry can work together? ​

“The qualification is something that we have been working on for around two years. Throughout the process, I have been immensely impressed by the amount of support received from all those involved to date. It is a great exemplar to government how such collaboration can help upskill the industry for the benefit of the public, and at the same time support the government’s low carbon aspirations.”

What sort of response has there been from members and non-members to its introduction? Have any targets been set in terms of the number of installers who will attend the course?

“The course has not been officially announced yet but it is amazing how positive a response we have received so far. We have however, run a series of ‘Train the Trainers’ events, which have also been very well received. I can therefore see no reason why in excess of 2,000 installers can’t be trained during 2022.”

The course is being promoted as a necessary foundation course for those who want to then take further training in heat pump technologies, but do you think it should be viewed as an important qualification in its own right?

“That’s a good point, and I agree that the new Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Design course should be seen as a stand-alone qualification. The fact that leading manufacturers and the HPA recognise the value of this qualification, prior to attending manufacturer bespoke training, justifies the significant effort that has gone into developing the course.”

Do you see this as being the first of a number of courses that the CIPHE will help to develop and endorse? ​

‘Yes, most definitely. Government has recognised that there is a skills shortage in our sector and are keen to learn more about our aspirations in upskilling the industry. There are many examples of poor installations causing property damage and distress to consumers. Encouraging installers to be qualified to NVQ Level 3, or equivalent, is therefore becoming increasingly important.’

Are you optimistic that the government will help to provide more funding to help installers bare the cost of retraining in low temperature systems? ​

‘There are funding mechanisms available but to access them will require further collaboration with like-minded partners from across industry. However, at the Spending Review in November 2020, the Chancellor announced £375 million from the overall investment for the National Skills Fund to cover the financial year 2021 to 2022. This includes £95 million of additional funding to give adults free access to level 3 qualifications.”

For more information about the CIPHE, or to become a member, please contact the team via email: membership@ciphe.org.uk

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