'Heat Training Grant': Government to offer £500 payments to help engineers take heat pump training courses

'Heat Training Grant': Government to offer £500 payments to
help engineers take heat pump training courses
'Heat Training Grant': Government to offer £500 payments to help engineers take heat pump training courses

New £5m grant scheme designed to support faster uptake of heat pumps across the country

The government has this morning announced a new £5m grant programme designed to help expand the UK's qualified heat pump installer workforce.

The newly minted Department for Energy Security and Net Zero unveiled the Heat Training Grant scheme, which it said would support the training of 10,000 heat pump engineers over the next two years.

The scheme will enable workers to access grants wirth up to £500 each, which the government said would cover "most of the cost" of a Level 3 heat pump course, which typically takes an experienced gas or oil heating engineer a week to complete.

"This funding will give the rollout of heat pumps a huge boost by making them cheaper and easier to install, and importantly helping more households move away from costly fossil fuels," said Energy and Climate Minister Lord Callanan. "But we need a skilled workforce to deliver this, so we're training thousands of people to be experts at installing heat pumps and heat networks, driving the country's push towards net zero."

A number of heating companies welcomed the intiaitive, and said they would heed the government's call for manufacturers to offer "additional discounts and benefits" to participating trainees.

"We welcome the government's investment in developing the new skills needed to support the growth of low-carbon heating solutions in homes and buildings," said Karen Boswell, managing director UK and Ireland at heating manufacturer Baxi. "We are fully committed to helping the industry transition to net zero, and we're focused on helping individuals access opportunities to participate in the anticipated growth of air source heat pumps."

The company also announced it would match the £500 government grant with another £500 worth of Baxi Works loyalty points for installers who use the voucher to train and achieve Baxi's BPEC accredited qualification. Upon completion of the course and registration of the installer's first air source heat pump, points can be redeemed against a range of rewards including gadgets, vouchers, tools, and workwear.  

Meanwhile, Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester-Bosch said the company was "delighted" at the new funding package. "There is great interest in future technologies and with this funding installers can gain the confidence and skills to offer heat pumps to their customers," he said.

The government said the new grant scheme would also support training for engineers working on heat networks. "By providing heat networks training support alongside heat pumps, areas of overlap and collaboration can be better explored, particularly around the installation of large-scale heat pumps for heat networks and shared ground loops," it said.

Ministers unveiled the new scheme as they simultaneously announced £9.7m had been unlocked for four heat pump projects in Oxfordshire, Bristol, and Cambridgeshire, as part of its £60m Heat Pump Ready programme.

The scheme, launched last September, aims to scale and prove the benefits of high-density heat pump deployment. It is seperate to the governments £450m Boiler Upgrade Scheme, which provides up to £6,000 in grants to homeowners to the cost of a heat pump and a zero rate of VAT.

The moves come as the government faces continuing criticism at the pace of the UK's heat pump roll out, with industry insiders warning the country is currently badly off track to meet Ministers' target of 600,000 heat pumps being installed each year by 2028 - a 10-fold increase from 2021.

A recent report from the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee warned the government's £150m a year grant scheme to support the roll out of heat pumps was not being sufficiently promoted and would fall well short of its targets for the first year of its operation. 

* This article was originally published here