The UK’s heat pump skills gap has been highlighted: only 18% of installers install them – and 44% don’t know where to go for training

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Energy Efficiency at City Plumbing is launching its first Energy Efficiency Centre where installers can go for training

A survey commissioned by Energy Efficiency at City Plumbing polled installers about their current knowledge of renewable technologies in the heating market and whether they planned to become certified to install them.

The results show that significant work is needed in order to meet the Government’s net zero target for 600,000 heat pumps to be installed per year by 2028. In 2022, the figure was between 60,000 and 70,000.

The survey revealed:

  • Only 18% of installers currently install heat pumps and only 6% are MCS certified
  • 44% of installers don’t know where to go to get trained and only 27% say it’s easy to find a course near where they live
  • 32% of installers are unaware of the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme in England and Wales (which offers discounts for homeowners switching to a heat pump if they use a certified installer)
  • Only 45% of installers say they are confident they know enough about heat pumps to explain their benefits to customers

Adam Foy, managing director of Energy Efficiency at City Plumbing, said: “As an industry we need to make training more accessible. The underlying interest is there. Our survey revealed that 49% of installers would consider becoming MCS certified if there was a course available locally. Moreover, when we asked installers if becoming certified would be good for their careers, 82% agreed.”

“It’s not possible to achieve government targets without trained installers, so now is the time to act,” added Foy.  

Energy Efficiency at City Plumbing has started the ball rolling by launching its first Energy Efficiency Centre, in Farnborough, Hampshire, where installers can go for training.

But the entire industry will need to work together to achieve national goals, with heating in UK homes producing as much as 17% of the country’s greenhouse emissions, according to the Climate Change Committee.

The survey shone a light on the increased interest in specifying renewable technologies in heating, with 53% of installers saying customers are increasingly interested in finding out about heat pumps and 42% expecting energy efficient heating to boom by 2025. 

“We need installers to be ambassadors for renewable technologies, especially in the domestic market where many homeowners are yet to be convinced, so education and effective communication is vital,” explained Foy. “Ultimately, Net Zero targets are going to be difficult to achieve without the right number of trained installers.”

Current numbers of MCS certified installers are around 1,500 but the Heat Pump Association estimates 30,000 will be needed in the long term.