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More environmental training still needed

A new report from SummitSkills reveals that there is insufficient environmental technology training available to meet potential demand which could lead to rogue traders.
SummitSkills has identified a lack of appropriate environmental technology training to meet future demand and a small number of training providers that are not checking the basic competencies of their students before allowing them to train.

The report, is the final one in its Labour Market Intelligence series, Potential Training Demand in Environmental Technologies in Building Services Engineering: Stage 3 Demand and Supply Gap Analysis.

The findings of research from SummitSkills found that no region or devolved nation in the UK was anywhere near prepared to meet the potential demand for training that could occur in the next few years. Further, a small proportion of training providers don't require trainees to be experienced or qualified in the relevant BSE trade that is appropriate to the technology being studied.

Dr Michael Hammond, research manager at SummitSkills, said: 'The potential lack of provision is particularly worrying given the Government's commitment to cutting carbon emissions from the UK's housing stock by 2020 under the Green Deal.

'Also environmental technology training is not a skillset which can be singled out - it is an extension of the skills already learned by BSE sector operatives and should be treated as such, from the entry level learning stage right through to current operator training.'

In the light of recent Green Deal announcements by the Government, the report also highlights that a significant minority of the training providers surveyed were unaware of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The impact of this, SummitSkills says, could leave learners unable to apply for the MCS registration they will need if householders they work for are to get access to funding from the Government.

Dr Hammond added: 'There is a level of responsibility here for both employers and training providers. 'Employers are already asking for existing tradesmen to be up-skilled to fit and maintain environmental technologies rather than introducing new environmental apprenticeships. When they choose their training provider, they need to bear in mind that only technologies fitted by MCS-accredited installers will be eligible to access Feed-In Tariffs and other financial incentives for their customers.

'At the training level, providers need to be more selective about the base competencies of entry level learners. In the same vein training providers need to be aware that their environmental technology training courses could be a springboard for MCS accreditation.'

SummitSkills is already looking at ways it can work with the building services engineering sector to provide guidance on environmental technology training. In February it launched the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies, a network of accredited training providers.

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18 July 2011

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