Experts representing training bodies and heating system makers will be debating the different methods to upskill the sector in line with the UK’s net zero targets
The value and importance of apprenticeships to expanding the low carbon skills of heating installers will be the main theme of this year’s Worshipful Company of Plumbers’ lecture.
CIPHE chief executive Kevin Wellman, Worcester Bosch chief executive Carl Arntzen and Neil Collishaw of training and assessment group BPEC will be among the speakers for this year’s lecture to debate the different options to help upskill heating and hot water engineers.
They will each share their own views during a discussion entitled, “Who Needs University, When Apprenticeships are Better?”. The evening will consider the different approaches available to become a heating engineer sector, as well as the differences between undertaking a paid apprenticeship or upskilling via universities and other educational routes.
Another focus of the discussion will be to look at how best to attract individuals at the start of their careers, as well as how to recruit people who may be looking to retrain and play a part in efforts to decarbonise buildings.
Air Commodore Paul Nash OBE, master of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers, said the speakers would use the event to set out the changing skills requirements of the heating and hot water sector to help meet the UK’s legal net zero targets are in both new and existing buildings. Mr Nash said the talks would also discuss how training and education can be delivered most effectively and at scale to ensure the right skills are in place across the industry.
He said: “The demand to deliver new environmentally sustainable technologies, that are required to meet the energy supply and climate change challenges we face, are huge. The big question is, can we meet this demand in time?”
CIPHE earlier this month warned that much more needed to be done in the UK to ensure engineers working on heating and hot water systems have the right skills to help cut carbon emissions from homes. In terms of heating, the institute said this would include ensuring that a single mandatory qualification was introduced for installing heat pumps.
At present, any heat pump provided as part of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme incentive must be installed by an individual with MCS accreditation. However, the chartered institute said that there was no similar mandatory legal requirement for all other UK installers wanting to provide heat pumps - beyond having the minimum NVQ Level 2 qualification.
The 2023 Worshipful Company of Plumbers annual lecture takes place on 15 May at the Royal College of Physicians in London
Further details on how to obtain tickets will be published here nearer the time.