Monday, May 27, 2024

Aira launches training academy to grow the UK’s green skills workforce

Swedish clean energy-tech champion, Aira, has officially opened the doors to its new training academy in Sheffield to close the green skills gap by developing the best-in class heat pump installers and renewable technicians.

The Aira Academy will act as the Northern training headquarters, welcoming hundreds of recruits this year alone at all stages of their career, including apprentices and existing gas engineers, to become heat pump specialists within clean energy-tech roles.

There are over 151,000 gas safe engineers registered in the UK and Aira is providing an avenue for these skilled workers to develop, progress and future-proof their careers. As an inclusive employer, Aira is also keen to employ apprentices who are pursuing a career in renewables and from September, will be onboarding apprentices from the local area in partnership with RNN Group.

Recent Parliamentary research reveals that in 2022, the UK had just 3,000 qualified heat pump engineers and yet, the government estimates that by 2028, the country will need to have 27,000 installers to meet the national installation target of 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028.

Since the Prime Minister relaunched the Boiler Upgrade Scheme and increased the grant to £7,500 in October 2023, there has been a surge in public interest, with heat pump demand doubling. Aira recognises the urgent need to close the green skills gap if the UK is to achieve the national installation goal and keep up with consumer demand.

Aira is committed to hiring 8,000 clean energy roles over the next decade to help facilitate the transition. The Aira Academy training programmes enable employees to deliver a seamless end-to-end service, which offers customers peace of mind on the journey to a more sustainable future.

With an aim to significantly decrease the of time of a heat pump installation through specialisation while simultaneously increasing quality, the Aira experience minimises disruption for customers, which is considered a barrier to adoption. Those trained at the Academy will go on to be at the forefront of the clean energy revolution, switching homes across the country from inefficient and expensive gas boilers to cleaner and more affordable heating solutions such as heat pumps.

Located in White Rose Business Park, the 320m2 centre of excellence hosts multiple training rooms and demonstration zones where trainees will be able to sharpen their skills and practice a variety of heat pump installation scenarios.

The recruits will also have access to leading technology and tools, allowing them to develop their awareness and understanding of the latest products and surrounding policies. Heat pumps technology has been heating homes in Scandinavia for decades and is key to reducing Europe’s third largest emitter of CO2 – residential heating.

The Aira Heat Pump, launched earlier this year, is four times more efficient than a conventional gas boiler, reducing heating related costs by 25% and heating related carbon emissions by 75%, rising to 100% when green electricity.

Pamela Brown, Aira Group Chief Marketing Officer said: “I’m immensely proud to open the first-of-a-kind Aira Academy in Sheffield, which enables our ambition to take Europe off gas by training the much-needed green skills workforce.

By empowering the next generation of clean energy experts, Aira is able to deliver a complete end-to-end service with high-quality installations and the reassurance of a 15-year Comfort Guarantee with the Aira Heat Pump. It’s electrifying to see so many individuals move over from roles in fossil-fuels to careers in clean energy-tech and we know this is just the start of a shift in paradigm to a more sustainable future.”

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East and Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, added: “It’s fantastic to see innovative companies such as Aira set up their advanced training facilities in Sheffield, increasing employment opportunities and bringing investment to the local area. If as a country, we are serious about working towards net zero, we are going to need many new installers to meet the predicted demand for low carbon heat pumps with over 230,000 homes in Sheffield still using gas boilers.”