The Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) has welcomed an announcement of funding to help upskill plumbing apprentices and employees in the installation of ground and air source heat pumps.
The new skills will be at the heart of the green energy transformation as Scotland transitions to net zero carbon by 2045, with the aim of approximately 126,000 buildings to be fitted with heat pumps by the end of 2025 and more than 50% of Scottish homes to be heated through renewable technology by 2030.
With the new Low Carbon Heat Skills Grant, the Scottish Government will be offering employers a grant covering up to 50% of the cost of necessary training courses for small to medium businesses.
SNIPEF is also offering its Scottish members funding of 200 places on the air and ground source heat pump course at £150 – which would mean, given the government funding of £300, the course would cost firms only £150.
The courses are designed to provide apprentices and employees with the skills they need to install low carbon heat technologies, especially air and ground source heat pumps thus enabling employers to futureproof their businesses with new skill sets. The Energy Saving Trust website has more information on eligibility.
Martyn Raine, technical and skills manager of SNIPEF, said: “This is very welcome assistance from the Scottish Government at a time when the direction of travel is so clearly towards low carbon technologies and we are pleased to be able to put additional funding in place to encourage take-up.
“We would encourage all our member companies to take advantage of this scheme in order to enhance their workforce capability and also to play their part in creating a new environment of sustainable energy.”
A recent survey of our members about renewables showed that 88% would like to see heat pump training with 76% preferring combined on-site and online study. The main barrier to adoption is the cost of training and having enough time.
The Low Carbon funding announcement coincides with a new scheme announced by the Scottish Government to help homeowners install renewable and energy efficiency measures.
The £4.5 million cashback incentive for domestic properties follows a similar incentive worth £4 million designed to encourage small-to-medium enterprises to install energy saving technologies at their premises.
Under the domestic scheme, homeowners will be able to apply for 75% cashback up to the value of £7,500 towards the cost of a renewable heating system and a further 40% cashback up to £6,000 for energy efficiency measures.
The offer is an extension of the Home Energy Scotland loan scheme which offers interest free loans for those wishing to install renewable and energy efficiency measures in their homes. The scheme will operate on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of the current financial year.
Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, said: “It is in everyone’s interests to act as soon as possible to reduce unnecessary emissions from heating our buildings and there are wonderful new technologies available which will help us to make a real difference.
“Harnessing the power of renewables has never been easier and homeowners can choose from systems such as biomass, ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, solar water heating and thermal energy stores.
“SNIPEF has been a long-standing supporter of energy efficiency and our member firms are well-placed to give homeowners and businesses professional, impartial advice and guidance about the best ways to contribute to carbon reduction.”
While welcoming the initiatives, SNIPEF also stressed the importance, both in domestic and commercial properties, of work being undertaken by trained, qualified and accredited plumbing and heating professionals.
Delta-EE, the specialist new energy research, has revealed that heat pump costs could fall by as much as 40% over a 10-year period.
As much as 20% of this cost reduction will largely be driven by market competition squeezing margins across the supply chain.
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