Discounted heat pump training still available with extension to funding for technician upskilling

It’s not too late for those looking to upskill in air source heat pumps. The OFTEC funding scheme to support heating technicians looking to upskill and add heat pumps to their range of solutions has been extended.

Future proof your heating career with discounted heat pump training

You now have until the 31st of July 2023 to secure a discount of up to 70% off your training to design, maintain, install and commission air source heat pumps.

Available courses

The 70% off discount is available for the following OFTEC courses:

To qualify for the discount candidates must work for a heating business based in England (a criterion set by BEIS). They must complete the assessment in full and receive personal certification in one of the eligible courses, following an internal verification process and technical review before final certification is awarded. Assessments must be sat in person at the centre and pre-assessment training and training reference material can be included in the funding allocation.

Candidates must meet the course pre-requisites and you can check you are eligible here.

Funding and training options

If the candidate works for a small enterprise (fewer than 50 employees) or is self-employed, they will receive a 70% discount on course fees.

For candidates working for medium sized enterprises (between 50 & 249 employees) the discount is capped at 60%.

For candidates working for large enterprises (250 employees and over) the discount is capped at 50%.

Once you have checked you meet the pre-requisites to book the training, simply contact one of the following approved centres that are participating in the scheme. The full list can be found here.

A huge opportunity

We spoke with Gosport-based SERT Training who, as a result of the funding extension, have 150 discounted spaces available for Design, Maintenance & Installation courses.

Callum Belch, training sales consultant for SERT, highlighted the opportunity available: “According to the UK Heat Pump Association, the country needs more than 50,000 additional installers by the end of the decade. The Heating and Hot Water Industry Council goes even further, estimating that 150,000 more installers are required.

“With the UK government pushing for 600,000 installs per annum by 2028, and not enough heat pump engineers to facilitate this, there’s certainly an attractive return on time and money invested in training.

“This is a huge opportunity for existing heating engineers to cash in on short-term demand, while the next generation of heating technicians are preparing their skills and qualifications for the mass adoption of these systems.”

Heat pump training with SERT is delivered in an innovative in-school set up with Mark Edwards, CEO of SERT explaining: “The training set-up is part of our ‘green school’ initiative with Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust and is a great opportunity to get ahead in the renewables sector with hands-on experience of three heat pumps brands: Samsung, Midea and Curve.”

Looking to the future

Callum explains the value of the educational partnership: “Looking at the current rate of installs and number of qualified, MCS registered technicians, there’s a long way to go to meet government targets for the UK heat pump market.

“This is why we’re so passionate about bringing sector awareness to primary and secondary schools – even creating a first-of-its-kind alternative curriculum for year 10 students to learn level 1-2 skills within heating and green energy professions.”

“There’s a lot of misconceptions around these systems and horror stories about poorly designed systems, Callum shares. “I feel this is where the UK market has suffered and highlights the need for accredited installer training to address the questions and concerns homeowners have.”

‘The average age of a heating technician is 54, and nearly half of the UK workforce is set to retire within the next 10 years. New entrants into the sector, without the pre-requisites, require a minimum of 2 years qualified experience to then look to upskill into heat pumps.

“This is a huge opportunity for technicians to cash in on short term demand – especially with the news that the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) has been extended to 2028.

“Completion of the course opens the door to access the OFTEC heat pump CPS and MCS registration schemes, enabling heating businesses to undertake installations funded by the BUS and putting your business in a prime position to benefit from the growth of the heat pump market.”

As Callum asks: “Who else is ready to future proof their heating career?”