More heating apprentices needed in as numbers continue to fall

More heating apprentices needed in as numbers continue to fall

Tuesday, March 05, 2024 By OFTEC

Young adults in are being urged to consider a career in the heating industry to help tackle a growing shortfall in the workforce.

The call comes as part of National Careers Week (4 to 9 March), an annual campaign to promote and support the career opportunities available to people entering the job market.

A recent government report revealed that the number of apprentices starting in 2022/23 fell by almost 5%, with under 19s making up just over 23%* of the new intake.

In response, OFTEC, a registration body and leading training provider for off-grid heating technicians, is promoting the opportunities of working in the heating sector, from ‘earn while you learn’ transferrable skills, to practical hands-on experience.

The shortage in apprenticeships comes at a critical time for the heating industry which will be reliant on new technicians entering the industry to support the transition to greener heating technologies in the home from heat pumps to renewable liquid fuels.

David Knipe, Training Manager at OFTEC, commented: “With new low carbon technologies on the market and the demand for reliable technicians increasing, it’s the perfect time for young people to embark on a career in the heating industry.

“With the rising cost of university tuition fees, apprenticeships are a highly credible further education option and a great route into future employment. There are numerous benefits combining theoretical and practical training, meeting new people every day and a career where your skills are always in demand.

“To support new entrants, one year’s free OFTEC registration is available to those who have successfully completed an apprenticeship in a relevant trade and have taken the OFTEC assessments.”

For the UK’s 1.7 million oil heated households, plans have already been put forward to transition homes onto a renewable liquid fuel alternative which reduces emissions by 88% and requires only a minor modification to the boiler. It follows a successful demonstration project in around 150 buildings using the fuel Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). OFTEC and industry partners are working with the government to secure support for a wider rollout.

David added: “Renewable liquid fuels can deliver significant carbon reductions for oil heated households with minimal upfront cost and disruption. All the evidence shows this is a viable alternative for properties where heat pumps would be too costly or impractical.

“To deliver the transition to greener heating, we need more people entering the industry to help drive this change. That’s why OFTEC continues to expand its training for both renewable liquid fuels and heat pumps so technicians are equipped for the future."

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