In response to the Chancellor’s announcement that £126m of funding will be made available to create 40,000 new traineeships, along with cash incentives for firms to take on apprentices and a new apprenticeship programme, Mark Wilkins, Technologies and Training Director at Vaillant, comments:
“The Government’s proposed investment in creating new traineeships and further incentives for employers to hire apprentices is to be welcomed, especially at a time when there is an urgent need to address the skills gap in industries such as ours.
“However, if the Government is to achieve its ambition to drive a ‘green industrial revolution’ in this country, it is vital that these apprenticeships are geared towards delivering the types of sustainable technologies that will lower the UK’s carbon emissions and help it to reach net zero.
“Decarbonising heat in buildings is one of the key areas that needs further support if we are to achieve the 2050 net zero target. But at the moment, there are simply not enough qualified engineers on the ground to deliver low carbon heating at the scale required. That’s why more needs to be done to incentivise the current and next generation of installers to undertake the necessary training.
“Vaillant already offers courses and works with industry bodies in developing formal training programmes and frameworks, but part of the traineeship investment should go towards supporting more engineers to train in designing and installing low carbon heating solutions, whether that’s for heat pump or hydrogen based systems. If the Government plans to use £12bn to create a UK Infrastructure Bank and invest in long-term projects like renewable energy, it also needs to ensure that there are sufficient engineers on the ground to install the associated systems at point of use. The Green Homes Grant’s failure to meet the targets promised serves as an example of what can happen if funding is not matched by the number of skilled professionals to deliver what’s needed.
“As ever, the devil will be in the detail, and we await further announcements to see if the proposed programmes will help to bridge the skills gap that is currently limiting our ability to roll out energy saving measures and low-carbon technologies.”