Mitsubishi Electric has opened a new Renewable Training Centre at its headquarters in Hatfield to double course availability and expand awareness of technology.
The company aims to target the knowledge gap surrounding renewable technologies and capture the next generation of plumbing, heating, air conditioning and photovoltaic (PV) installers by encouraging schools and colleges to use the new resource.
Donald Daw, commercial director for the company's Living Environmental Systems Division, said: 'We intend to increase awareness and understanding of renewable technologies from the classroom to career. In doing so, we not only plan to help raise standards within the industry but also increase the level of understanding amongst the public.'
Mitsubishi Electric has established links with Cornwall College and South Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride which will see these provide training for the Ecodan range of air source heat pumps. The company is also is in discussions with several other heating and plumbing colleges, with a view to establishing nationally recognised training courses. A pilot scheme designed to increase awareness of the renewable industry amongst schoolchildren is also being developed with local schools in the Hatfield area to widen understanding of how the technology works.
'We wanted to extend the traditional notion of training that manufacturers provide and use this facility to go beyond our own product range so that we can encourage students to explore the wider concepts of renewable technology,' said Mr Daw.
The new facility more than doubles the amount of floor space available for training and will increase the number of training places to 4,000 per year. The centre allows the company to provide 12 different courses covering air conditioning, residential heating, commercial heating and control systems.
It also provides display areas for all these technologies, heat recovery ventilation for both commercial and residential buildings and the range of advanced PV systems.
These showrooms contain a full range of live operational products so that course attendees can go beyond the text book to undertake working diagnostics. The company believes this is vital if engineers are to gain a complete picture of the issues surrounding the installation and use of renewable technologies.
Mr Daw added: 'Independent research has demonstrated that heat pumps can offer a viable mass-market alternative to gas and oil heating, if they are installed and commissioned correctly into suitable buildings. However, the year-long trials by the Energy Saving Trust also highlight the need to increase awareness of the possibilities of renewable technology amongst consumers and that is why we are looking beyond the industry and targeting education.'