A new heat pump training centre set to open in Essex in 2023 aims to create 2,000 additional installers each year.
The site is currently scheduled to open in the spring and marks a partnership between training specialists Quantum Group, the Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME), and manufacturer Daikin UK.
Among the main aims of the new Centre of Excellence project will be to provide the opportunity for existing plumbing and heating engineers to diversify into providing heat pumps as a lower carbon alternative to natural gas boilers.
Installers trained at the centre will also be given ongoing assistance from Daikin UK on the safe and effective installation of its heat pump systems across the country.
The UK Government has set a target for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed annually from 2028 as part of broader aims to gradually wean the country of natural gas boilers over the next decade and a half. Initiatives such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme incentive, launched this year, and other funding programmes such as the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) are intended to help offset upfront cost barriers to scaling up heat pump use.
The government has also cited the planned introduction of the Future Homes Standard in 2025 as another important measure to help build the market for low carbon heat.
The standard will seek to outlaw the installation of natural gas boilers in new homes in order to drive up demand for heat pumps.
Martin Passingham, product and training manager with Daikin UK, said that it was increasingly important for heating engineers to have the right skills to provide low carbon systems with the planned introduction of the Future Homes Standard in just over two years.
He said: “With gas boilers being banned in new homes from 2025, and incentives in place to ensure the country’s existing housing stock is upgraded to low carbon heating, household demand for alternatives like heat pumps is stronger than ever.”
“We’re proud to be supporting Quantum Group and CEME as they blaze a trail to increase the region’s bank of renewable heating installers. It’s important that homeowners know that their heat pump will be installed by a highly trained professional – and that’s exactly what this training centre will do.”
Mr Passingham claimed that heat pumps were expected to deliver lifetime savings of between 24 and 37 tonnes of carbon in an average size three-bedroom UK home with an estimated heat demand of 12,000 kWh.
Maria Gonella, managing partner at Quantum Group, said the partnership was intended to create more opportunities for installers working in London and the southeast of the country to upskill and diversify in the technologies they provide.
This need for diversification was important for the industry after the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “The last couple of years have been difficult, with the pandemic taking a real toll. We’d like to thank Havering Council for their support and their belief in us throughout our journey. We’re continuing to grow and take on exciting new projects including designing and installing renewable technologies training centres for college groups across Greater London and the home counties.”
“Our continued investment in our training facilities and working with Daikin UK, the leading HVAC manufacturer is our priority to create the changed needed to ensure a cleaner future.”
Daikin UK has also partnered with installation specialist CB Heating and energy supplier EDF on a Training Academy that opened earlier this year in Clacton-on-Sea in Essex. The academy is designed to help training an estimated 4,000 installers a year – a figure expected to double the existing number of trained engineers working in the UK.