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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Heating engineers trained in green technologies
Article Type: Notes and news From: Industrial and Commercial Training, Volume 42, Issue 7
Nu-Heat has turned a potential business threat into a revenue-boosting opportunity by training heating engineers to install the renewable technologies that it sells.
The company sells under-floor heating, heat pumps and solar collectors – examples of the green technologies it expects to be key in enabling the UK to comply with its Kyoto target of reducing carbon emissions by 60 percent by 2050, over and above its commitment to achieve a 12.5 percent reduction by 2012.
Government grants are given towards the cost of installing renewables – but only when both product and installer are registered under the microgeneration certification scheme (MCS). While many products comply, there are few installers. Nu-Heat identified this as a possible threat to the growth of its business.
The company decided that the solution was to train installers itself – and that it would also equip its own sales and technical staff with the background knowledge they needed in order to give customers a professional and informed service. It worked with certifying body NICEIC on creating a heat-pump installation course that could be approved and therefore be acceptable to the MCS.
The resulting three-day course is delivered to a maximum of 12 candidates by Nu-Heat’s NICEIC-accredited trainers. Two classroom sessions cover health and safety and technical heat-pump information, assessed by multiple-choice question papers. A day of practical training and assessment follows. Candidates with difficulties such as dyslexia receive individual support. Trainees develop a clear understanding of the benefits of heat pumps, how to install them and explain their energy-efficient use and maintenance to customers.
The course is delivered in a new training center, added to Nu-Heat’s purpose-built premises, to house training “rigs” and teaching facilities.
Successful candidates, all plumbing and heating specialists with minimum pre-requisite qualifications, can apply for membership of the NICEIC competent-persons scheme, and then for their own MCS number, allowing their customers to apply for Government grant support.
The first trial course was run in August 2008 and, following minor amendments, gained NICEIC approval in December 2008. The nationally-recognized course has been rolled out to training centers across the UK.
One trainee was Francis Delaney, principal of Eco Heat Solutions. He said: “As a direct result of the training, I have employed two business partners and renamed the business Eco Heat Solutions. Training has given my company and, more importantly, prospective customers, the confidence to invest in new technology.”
Nu-Heat has now developed a two-day course in under-floor heating installation. It is also building a register of installers capable of fitting its products throughout the UK.
Nu-Heat employs 95 people and works across the self-build, trade and house-builder sectors. It is an Investors in People accredited company and is involved in delivering the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The training has won a National Training Award.