Retrofit skills bootcamps launched to help develop energy saving technologies and skills in the West Midlands

Hundreds of people are to undergo free specialist training so they have the skills needed to retrofit the latest energy saving technologies to upgrade thousands of homes across the region.

A number of Retrofit Bootcamps are being funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to help equip existing engineers and others with the skills and knowledge to install green technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and super-efficient insulation.

Not only will the bootcamps help people find work in the green industries of the future but the installation of retrofit products will help the West Midlands in its ambitious #WM2041 target to be a net zero region with the next two decades.

The first bootcamp, which has launched at Teach A Trade in partnership with Telford College, this bootcamp provides gas engineers heating engineers and plumbers the chance upskill and gain the essential qualification required to install, service and maintain air source heat pumps. Along side the heat pump qualification participants will complete a level 2 mental health awareness course to raise awareness and provide the increase in mental health issues within the construction industry.

Heat pumps are seen as critical technology for decarbonising heating in domestic homes but the UK’s Committee on Climate Change says that by 2030 the country will need to be installing a million heat pumps every year if it is to reach its net zero targets. That will require thousands of engineers with the right skills.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As the home of Britain's Green Industrial Revolution, the West Midlands is set to create tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years as we work towards our #WM2041 plan to tackle the climate emergency.

“It is therefore absolutely critical that we get local people the skills they need to develop energy saving technologies as we move towards upgrading more and more homes across the region.”

Telford college has teamed up with Telford-based Teach A Trade for the ‘bootcamp’ project, which is being funded from the £11m the WMCA secured from Government for skills bootcamps in September.

The fully accredited course is delivered at Teach A Trades’ Halesfield-based training centre by industry experts with vast practical and theoretical knowledge. Successful completion of the course leads to an LCL awards level 3 in the installation and maintenance of heat pump systems.

Beckie Bosworth, head of employer engagement at Telford College, said: “We will be training a total of 128 people over the next six months.

“This is a really exciting project that fits perfectly with the college’s strategic plans for become an ethical skills eco system for the region, promoting green skills and working towards net zero.

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