Heat pump installer numbers soar by 166% 

The Heat Pump Association has announced a remarkable surge in qualified heat pump installers in the UK, highlighting a significant advancement within the sector.  

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An impressive 166% rise was observed, with the figures jumping from just under 3,000 in 2022 to close to 8,000 in 2023. 

This surge has brought the total number of qualified heat pump installers over the last two years to 11,000 individuals.  

Although the data can’t confirm whether all these qualified individuals are active within the sector, this exponential growth underscores the escalating interest and investment in heat pumps across the UK. It is a testament to the concerted efforts of training providers, heating engineers, and manufacturers in expanding the supply chain, bolstered by support from government grants. 

Substantial progress towards the goal of 33,700 heat pump installers

According to the association’s projections, to meet the government’s ambitions for the transition to clean heating systems, the UK requires the equivalent of 33,700 full-time employed heat pump installers. These latest figures indicate substantial progress towards that goal. 

Many of these 11,000 individuals have benefited from various government schemes, including the Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition, skills bootcamps, and the current Heat Training Grant.

With the Heat Training Grant expected to support around 6,000 additional trainees in England over the next 13 months, the upward trend in qualified heat pump installers will continue into 2024, further solidifying the sector’s growth and the country’s shift towards more sustainable heating solutions. 

Commenting on the increase, minister for affordability and skills, Amanda Solloway said: “We’ve seen a surge of heat pump applications since we increased support grants by 50 per cent, making our scheme one of the most generous in Europe. We now want to create an army of experts that will be the heartbeat of this heat pump rollout – it’s fantastic to see thousands joining this new skilled workforce.” 

“This surge in qualified installers is not just a win for the environment but also for the economy, creating numerous job opportunities and fostering a skilled workforce ready to meet the challenges of the future. 

“We are witnessing a pivotal moment in the shift towards the acceleration of heat pump deployment, and the sector is leading the charge,” said Laura Needham, chair of the training working group at the Heat Pump Association.  

“With the support of the Government, the sector is investing in building a strong foundation to train the workforce needed to meet our net zero targets. This strong increase in trained heat pump installers demonstrates change is afoot. Having a qualified, competent and committed heat pump installer network is vital to the success of meeting the Government’s net zero targets.” 

Welcome news for the industry

Welcoming the news, OFTEC training manager David Knipe, said “Ensuring that homeowners get heat pump installations they can trust is essential if consumers are to have the confidence to invest in low carbon heating. OFTEC is at the forefront of supporting this goal, and our new suite of heat pump courses has been extremely popular in the last year, with over 1,330 heating technicians undertaking training.” 

Mark Krull, director at LCL Awards, said, “It is encouraging to see that the heating industry within the UK has risen to meet the challenge, and those who see the future with heat pumps are actively seeking to develop and extend their knowledge through training and undertaking qualifications which the HPA has been leading the industry on.

“This is an ongoing challenge, and I am sure more installers will continue to grow their skills and knowledge and help the UK meet its net zero targets.” 

Neil Collishaw, CEO at BPEC said, “This is very encouraging news. BPEC is proud to have been a trailblazer in this field having offered heat pump and other renewable training courses/qualifications to the plumbing and heating industry for over a decade. We will continue to work closely with the HPA to promote upskilling opportunities to meet the skills needs for the future which is central to our core mission”. 

The industry needs to continue to push

Paul Collins, technical director at NICEIC, commented: “It is great to see the number of installers training to install heat pumps to help us on our journey to net zero. However, the industry needs to continue to push to ensure we can meet the targets ahead of us.” 

Oliver Zanetti, mission manager of Sustainable Future Mission at Nesta commented: “Heating engineers are the experts who will upgrade Britain’s homes with new, efficient and low carbon heat sources. We’re excited to see more engineers gaining the skills they’ll need to move into the sector and deliver more heat pumps.

“We need to keep the pace up if we are to achieve the scale of transition that’s necessary. At Nesta, we’re devising and trialling innovations that will make it quicker and easier for engineers to move from gas into installing heat pumps.”