Engineering and manufacturing

Construction and the Built Environment Green Growth

Add to Bookmarks

Low carbon heating is the future as it will reduce climate change and improve the energy efficiency of homes and industrial buildings…

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The green sector is a growth sector. Low carbon heating is the future as it will reduce climate change and improve the energy efficiency of homes and industrial buildings. One of the major technologies being used for low carbon heating is heat pumps. We look at how to get into this exciting sector.

The government has set a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. This presents a great opportunity to train as a heat pump installer as there is a shortage of skilled people able to do this currently.  Until now, if you wanted to be a heat pump installer, you had to train as a plumber or electrician first. This will change. There is a new low carbon heating apprenticeship coming later this year that will build your knowledge of the technology and train you to install them.

There have been a total of 190,050 certified heat pump installations in the UK to date, so to reach the government target a lot of qualified heat pump installers are needed.

The apprenticeship is set to be a three year course. So, as well as the apprenticeship, there are also a number of heat pump installer courses that existing plumbers and engineers can take. Members of the Heat Pump Association have worked with LCL awards to develop three Ofqual approved heat pump courses. IEMA has also set up a Green Careers Hub to provide resources and information for people looking for green jobs. While apprentices are training some of the immediate skills shortages can be filled by developing people’s skills who are already in associated industry sectors. 

Why do plumbers, electricians and engineers make ideal professionals to move into heat pump installation?

The answer is in the way the technology works. Heat pumps use environmental energy to generate heating and hot water for buildings, from homes to offices and industrial units. There are several different types of heat pump. They work by extracting heat from either the air or the ground. Some specialist heat pumps also extract heat from water, such as a river or even the sea.  The heat pump takes the heat it has extracted and converts this into heat and hot water for the building. Heat is collected through pipes containing anti-freeze that warms up. The anti-freeze releases the heat it has adsorbed to an even colder liquid and then turned into a gas. The gas is compressed, turning it into steam that is used to heat the building. 

People with prior knowledge of plumbing have an understanding of working with pipes. Electricians understand compressors and how they operate and engineers have skills relating to positioning heat pumps and the ground works required. There is a host of transferable skills and knowledge that can be built upon easily.

If you are interested in training to become a Heat Pump installer then a range of organisations are offering courses.

For example Hybridtec have boot camps while St. Helens college offers a one year course in installation and maintenance. City of Liverpool College offers a Refrigeration air conditioning and heat pump engineering technician apprenticeship.