Skills gap preventing low-energy technology from reaching full potential
Source: Blue & Green Tomorrow
New research suggests that if the UK is to meet its climate and energy goals then the current vocational education and training is inadequate and ill-prepared to do so.
The UK Committee on Climate Change has specifically identified heat-pump technology as part of their low-carbon strategy to replace gas boilers in buildings. However, a study suggests that if the UK is to meet its climate and energy goals then the current vocational education and training is inadequate and ill-prepared to do so.
New research published in Building Research & Information, “Residential heat pump installations: the role of vocational education and training“, examines the skills and knowledge needed for installing and maintaining heat pumps. The author, Dr Colin Gleeson of the University of Westminster, identifies the lack of broader educational content and deficiencies in engineering knowledge. This will have detrimental consequences on both the actual performance and market acceptance of heat pumps.
Dr Gleeson remarks: “Field trial results indicate a failure in the design and installation of heat pump systems, this is linked to the lack of appropriate knowledge, skills and competence for creating optimum performance.
“Few UK installers have formal heat pump qualifications at NVQ [National Vocational Qualifications] level 3. Heat pump vocational education and training is generally offered through short-courses with no strict adherence to a common syllabus or a detailed training centre specification.”
The UK aims to install 600,000 heat pumps by 2020 as part of its climate and energy goals and 2.5 – 4 million heat pumps by 2030 if it is to fulfil its climate commitment.