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The heat pump skills gap threatens to destabilise the government's plans to remove all boilers in new builds by 2025, as well as their aim to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. 

Currently there are only roughly 3,000 trained heat pump installers in the UK, making it hard to meet the UK government's sustainability and carbon emissions targets. 

Despite the lack of trained heat pump specialists, this hasn’t deterred the demand and popularity of heat pumps, highlighting the need to push and encourage further training.

Government sustainability aims 

The averageUK  householdUK emits 8.1 tonnes of Co2 each year, with 2.7 tonnes of this coming from heating homes. Due to this and other factors such as burning fossil fuels and car pollutants, the UK government has created various sustainability aims. 

These include:

The UK’s net zero emissions aims

The UK’s net zero emissions goals place focus on balancing out the greenhouse gases produced through human activity and the gases removed from the atmosphere. 

In order to reach the UK’s Net Zero targets, there are a few changes that need to be made, such as:

  • Using energy efficient resources that reduce the demand for energy across the economy.

  • Making societal choices that lead to a lower demand for carbon-intensive activities (these are activities that produce a lot of carbon, such as transport or agricultural activities).

  • Moving toward electric vehicles and heating, supported by the expansion of renewable and other low-carbon power generation.

  • Develop a hydrogen economy to help with demands for industrial processes and electricity and heating in peak periods.

To learn more about the UK’s Net Zero plans, read our blog. 

The Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution

The Ten Point plan aims to build back better, support green jobs and accelerate the path to net zero.

Building back better involves investing in making the UK a global leader in green technologies, such as heat pumps.

The Ten Point Plan includes:

  • Advancing offshore wind.

  • Driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen.

  • Delivering new and advanced nuclear power.

  • Accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles.

  • Green public transport, cycling and walking.

  • ‘Jet zero’ and green ships.

  • Building greener buildings.

  • Investing in carbon capture, usage and storage.

  • Protecting our natural environment.

  • Green finance and innovation.

The plan will use £12 million of government investment to help create and support 250,000 green jobs in the UK.

To learn more about the ten point plan, visit GOV.UK.

Heat pump installation aims 

With the government aiming to increase sustainability opportunities within the UK, heat pumps play a key role in this. 

Due to this the government is aiming to install renewable heating systems in all new builds instead of boilers by 2025.

The government is also aiming to reach zero emissions (Net Zero) by 2050. With these aims in mind, Enula kick started the heat pump revolution and our technology, knowledge and passion will help lead the way toward achieving net zero carbon emissions.

Furthermore, to help reach these aims the government has created various grants to help offset the price of installing a heat pump and to encourage businesses and homeowners to invest in them.

Grants include:

  • The Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

  • NEST Scheme Wales

  • Warmer Homes Scotland

  • Home energy Scotland Loan

To learn more about these government grants, read our blog.

How is the skills gap affecting government sustainability aims?

With only 3,000 people being trained in the UK to install heat pumps it poses the question, how are we going to meet the UK's sustainability and heat pump aims?

Despite the demand for heat pumps increasing, they’re still less popular than gas boilers, with 1.6 million being installed in the UK every year. This could be due to the installation of a heat pump being so expensive and therefore putting people off of choosing this renewable heating alternative.

Furthermore, the lack of trained heat pump specialists may not be able to keep up with the growing demand for installations. However, due to the government's sustainability aims, organisations are starting to encourage those trained to install boilers to learn how to install heat pumps as well. This could also help encourage the move toward sustainable heating, as there will be more people available to get involved with installing them.

Both boiler and heat pump installers require similar skills, such as plumbing, electrical and control skills and installation skills, meaning it could be fairly easy for them to learn how to install heat pumps as they have basic knowledge from their boiler training. 

To be able to hit the government's targets, the UK will need at least 27,000 qualified engineers by 2028. This means we’ll need nearly 9 times the amount of qualified engineers we currently have in 6 years time. 

If installer productivity remains constant then the number of installers needed by 2035 is likely to increase to 62,000. This means 5,000 to 7,000 installers will need to be trained a year, which is currently more engineers than we currently have!

Adding on to this, to reach these goals, as previously mentioned, experienced gas engineers will be required to train as heat pump engineers, with new talent being required as well. 

In theory those already trained as gas engineers could go on a 3-5 day training course, followed by manufacturer training, suggesting that it could be simple and quick to train them. However, new talent will need to train as a gas engineer or plumber by taking a 3-4 year college course or apprenticeship before being able to take the 3-5 day heat pump training course. This is slightly problematic as there isn’t enough time to train new people in the industry to help meet the government's aims, suggesting that the UK may not meet their goal to install 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028.

How is Enula helping the government meet these aims?

Here at Enula we want to ensure our planet has a future as well as everyone and everything else on it. We are aiming to drive Britains heat pump revolution and make sure all businesses and individuals have a net zero footprint. 

We’re working hard to help the UK meet their aims of removing gas boilers from all new builds in 2025 and reaching net zero emissions in 2050. 

We’re doing this through being an educational hub, helping to raise awareness of the positive impacts heat pumps have on our planet and your pocket for both the public and installers alike. 

We’re also looking to expand our training capabilities throughout 2023, by working with our brands to create training centres where people can gain the necessary qualifications to both install and maintain our products. Look out for more announcements over the coming year."

Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you have a net zero footprint. 

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