It is vital that the tradespeople supporting the net zero transition are upskilled to a high standard to ensure they are competent and possess the skills required. There is a risk that a rapid growth in demand for low carbon heating installers and electricians will lead to unqualified individuals operating in critical areas of the industry. This could present significant safety risks for consumers.
There is currently a shortage of registered electricians and suitably qualified and competent heat pump engineers. Barriers to upskilling faced by electricians and heating engineers must therefore be addressed to ensure high quality installations and prevent a situation whereby homeowners are exposed to unnecessary risk due to poor installation practices or unavailability of specialised and certified installers.
A clear and consistent policy framework is needed to provide the workforce with the confidence to upskill and invest to deliver high quality installations and support the retrofit of the UK’s building stock. It is essential that all tradespeople are held to consistently high standards and that there are not discrepancies in the level of service provided to customers depending on the solution installed or source of funding.
- Government should introduce a clear and consistent policy framework to provide industry with long-term certainty of demand and encourage investment in upskilling
- Government should introduce grants and/or tax incentives to encourage individuals to upskill and enter the low carbon market.
- Education authorities and training providers should continue to develop high quality training courses and regulated qualifications to support the upskilling of professionals. New and existing apprenticeship standards should also incorporate energy efficiency/low carbon content. This could be supported via a combination of current and additional government funding.
- As the market grows, national government(s), and specifically Energy and Housing Teams, should introduce minimum installation quality standards across the whole industry.
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