OFTEC launches heat pump training course and technology neutral vision 

OFTEC has announced a new heat pump training course in the UK as it sets out a technology neutral vision for decarbonising the off-grid sector. 

The new training course means OFTEC technicians can equip themselves with the skills they need to install a full range of non-gas technologies from heat pumps to renewable liquid fuels and lead the way in the transition to low carbon heating. 

The move is a key element in the trade association’s vision for a technology inclusive approach to decarbonisation which recognises the diverse nature of the UK’s building stock and the need for multiple heating solutions to achieve net zero. 

Developed by industry experts 

Working in collaboration with industry experts, the new heat pump training course and assessment package has been developed by a selected working group alongside MCS, including Grant UK, Panasonic, Vaillant, Nationwide Training, Cert-Ain Certification and ERS Certification as representatives of seven UK based accredited certification bodies. 

The programme covers air source heat pump installation, commissioning, and servicing. Further courses covering design of heat pump systems and ground source heat pump installation, commissioning and servicing will be available shortly. Successful technicians can then apply for MCS certification to install heat pumps through Government schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grant or Boiler Upgrade Scheme and they will also be able to self-certify their own installations as being compliant with Building Regulations. 

The course incorporates theoretical and practical assessment across different heat pump products to give technicians the flexibility to install the technology. It will be delivered through OFTEC’s existing network of training providers and most heating technicians should already hold the necessary skills and experience to meet the course pre-requisites. 

No ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution

“This is an exciting development for OFTEC and a natural progression as we continue to diversify the training we provide so that heating technicians can futureproof their business. We fully support the commitment to drive down emissions and heat pumps have an important role to play. 

“At the same time, we recognise that there is no one size fits all solution and we can’t rely on a single technology. Alongside heat pumps, renewable liquid fuels and solid biomass both have an important role to play, depending on the requirements of the building in question. 

“Hybrid systems may become more mainstream in the future and a technician holding both OFTEC’s liquid fuel and heat pump registrations will have a distinct advantage in obtaining additional work.  

“If we want decarbonisation to succeed, we must be pragmatic and adopt a technology neutral approach to give consumers a fair choice in how they go green. OFTEC technicians can lead the way in supporting homes and businesses as they make this transition,” said David Knipe, training manager at OFTEC. 

Ian Rippin, chief executive officer of MCS, said: “The home heating revolution is an integral part of the shift towards net zero. Skilled people are needed to support the move to clean, green renewable heat and we welcome the new OFTEC heat pump training course with great enthusiasm. With heat pump installations at an all-time high and strong Government incentives in place, there’s never been a better time to invest in people and provide the skills needed to provide home-grown energy for the UK.” 

Steve Knight, training centre manager at SERT, commented: “The launch of this new course will give a new area of expertise to heating technicians with a focus on designing and installing efficient and effective low-carbon heating solutions. It is vital that potential installers understand the importance of getting the right solutions for customers and that heat pumps are forming a part of a longer term solution to the UK’s energy questions.” 

Phil Stanley, training manager at Grant UK, said: “Grant UK has been an approved OFTEC training and assessment centre for many years, delivering a range of courses to engineers and heating professionals nationwide. 

“As a specialist in off-grid heating, we have supplied heat pumps for more than a decade and know how essential engineer training is, especially when it comes to designing and installing low temperature systems. We were very pleased to be part of the OFTEC working group tasked with producing their own heat pump installer course.” 

Mark Williams, training manager at Vaillant Group UK, said: “It is extremely important that installers and maintenance engineers are equipped with the right information to be able to pass on concise and accurate information to the end users from design to commissioning. As this is a relatively new technology for many engineers and end users in the UK, Vaillant was happy to lend support to the OFTEC working group.”