Thousands of people will be equipped with the right skills to make homes more energy efficient, thanks to new government funding which will see training courses rolled out across the country.
From today (Tuesday 25 July) training providers, such as colleges and accreditation providers, will be able to bid for a share of £8.85 million to help up to 8,000 people – whether current installers or those new to the industry – develop the skills and expertise needed to retrofit homes with energy saving measures.
The courses will be free or provided at low cost, and will cover a range of key energy efficiency measures, from putting in loft insulation to draft proofing measures. This will not only help drive household energy bills down and reduce emissions, but represents key employment opportunities for people to stay in and progress in work.
Training providers will have until 25 August 2023 to apply for the funding to deliver the courses, with training places expected to open later this year.
Lord Callanan, Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, said:
We’re investing billions of pounds to improve energy efficiency across the country – saving households hundreds on their bills while making sure Britain’s homes are fit for the future.
We’ve already helped millions of people to do this, but we need an army of skilled professionals able to install insulation and other energy-saving measures in homes across the country.
Today’s funding will give training providers the opportunity to put on the courses needed to help create the skilled workforce ready to join this rapidly-growing market, with people able to benefit from these courses at low or no cost.
Nearly half of homes in England now have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or above, saving them hundreds on their energy bills. However, today’s funding will help deliver on the government’s ambitions to go further and faster, creating a new wave of skilled tradespeople while boosting opportunity in local communities and growing the economy.
Through the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition, accredited energy efficiency training will either be free or heavily subsidised saving trainees hundreds of pounds as they develop their skills and gain qualifications.
Successful organisations will provide training and support to installers to help build the capacity of the supply chain and upskill individuals which will support organisations to gain PAS 2030 certification, the industry specification which all energy efficiency installers must be certified to and compliant with to participate in government funded schemes. This will include installer training that leads to a recognised qualification NVQ or equivalent, and short courses.
Training, which will be delivered until 31 March 2024, will be focused on 2 packages:
Derek Horrocks, chairman of the National Insulation Association (NIA) and the National Home Decarbonisation Group (NHDG) said:
I am delighted to see the government is committing further funding towards retrofit skills and training through the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition.
Achievement of energy efficiency targets is vital to ensure that millions of people across the country can enjoy a warmer, healthier home. A fundamental requirement for achieving this ambition is building a workforce of sufficient size and skill to deliver.
Our members look forward to collaborating with all those working to develop green skills and make this competition a success.
David Pierpoint, CEO of The Retrofit Academy, a leading training provider in retrofit courses, said:
The Home Decarbonisation Skills Competition is an essential vehicle for increasing capacity while maintaining high standards and we welcome the government’s £8.85 million funding allocation.
It is essential we use this funding to unlock more talent, upskill workforces and drive the infrastructure required to decarbonise the UK housing stock and we intend to continue our partnerships with the government and industry to build on the 5,000 learners we have already enrolled onto our range of retrofit training courses.
The scheme builds on the £15 million provided since 2020 on skills training, which has delivered at least 16,000 opportunities in the energy efficiency, retrofit and low carbon heating sector.
The competition will run alongside the £5 million Heat Training Grant, which officially opened last month and aims to train more than 10,000 low-carbon heating installers to work on heat pumps and heat networks by April 2025.
These grants of £500 towards an individual’s training, which usually costs around £600 to complete – meaning the vast majority will be covered by the government.
Energy efficiency remains the best approach to reducing fuel poverty in the long-term, contributing to warmer homes and reduced energy bills as well reducing carbon emissions.
The government is helping to make homes across the country more energy efficient through the Home Upgrade Grant, and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and will extend support further through ECO4 and The Great British Insulation Scheme.
These schemes are part of the £6.6 billion government is investing over this Parliament on clean heat and improving energy efficiency in buildings, reducing our reliance on fossil fuel heating. In addition, £6 billion of new government funding will be made available from 2025 to 2028.