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National Academy promotes the low carbon economy

The National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies hosted its inaugural meeting on 18 May, bringing together the 14 hub colleges which, along with 80 other providers, currently comprise its training network.
National Academy promotes the low carbon economy
Located in Birmingham, representatives from the educational establishments based across the country joined forces to discuss issues affecting their areas, plus listen to strategic plans presented by Skills Academy representatives Cathryn Hickey, Rob Wellman and Kevin Dowd.

The aim of the Skills Academy to 'deliver demand driven, quality focused, accessible, progressive and recognised training' was re-iterated to the group, with an overview of the phases necessary to introduce its full provision.

Phase 1, which is currently underway, sees the introduction of level 3 environmental technologies training for solar thermal, photovoltaics, heat pumps and water harvesting and recycling, plus a qualification in environmental technologies awareness, which acts as a stand-alone unit for non-technical staff and is embedded in all the installer specific training.

Phase 2, set to be introduced later this year, will see courses in micro-CHP, micro-hydro, micro-wind and bio-fuels. The importance of the environmental awareness qualification, plus any complimentary provision colleges may already offer, such as leadership and management training, was discussed, as entering into renewables installation is about more than just the physical act of fitting the equipment.

Factors such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed in Tariffs (FiTs), the changeover to the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) and next year's EU Directive for training - moving the emphasis of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) away from companies as a whole focusing more on the skills of individual employees - were all reasons behind the acute necessity for the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies.

Cathryn Hickey from the Skills Academy commented: 'Our first hub meeting has proved extremely useful; regular feedback sessions are an integral part of running the Skills Academy. The Academy has been set up at the request of employers to meet the needs of industry and the low carbon agenda in general, so we are duty bound to listen to our customers, stakeholders and training providers. This is an exciting time for environmental technologies, with many forces driving a market that will prove beneficial to building services engineering and the wider economy.'

The National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies is currently being rolled out across the country to find your nearest hub college and for more information, visit

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20 May 2011


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