Environmental technologies in the BSE sector are moving up the list of priorities for employers and as a result, ensuring that employees have the correct training and skills is becoming more important.
Recent research published by SummitSkills found that overall engagement in environmental technologies is increasing in the sector. However, there are not enough trained operatives in the UK to cope with any sudden demand over the next two years.
Potential Training Demand in Environmental Technologies in Building Services Engineering: Stage 1 is the first of three reports analysing trends in the sector’s engagement with renewables and the potential impact of these on training demands across the UK.
The report showed that the heating and ventilation industry saw a 48 per cent increase in the number of businesses engaged in solar water and heating installation, the oldest and probably the most well known environmental technology in the sector. However, in the same period there was only a 3 per cent increase in the number of operatives in engaged companies with formal solar water technology training.
As the Sector Skills Council for the BSE sector, one of our priorities at SummitSkills is environmental technologies training in recognition of its future importance in the sector, and we actively encourage employers and employees to ensure the right training is undertaken.
The approval of the bid for SummitSkills to lead the development of a £3m National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies will go a long way to closing the gap between engagement and training identified in this report.
The main aims for the Skills Academy will be to co-ordinate skills training in design, installation and maintenance of environmental technologies. It will play a key role in ensuring that skills capability is developed, allowing the BSE sector to become more proactive in promoting the green agenda to consumers and acting as a trailblazer for green skills.
It will help transform the ability for businesses in the sector to access the training and skills they need to meet future increased demand for the installation of renewable and environmental technologies in the UK.
The Skills Academy will focus on the following areas of skills development for the sector:
- Design skills: training in the full planning and installation process for environmental technologies, from the correct design and sizing of the renewable installations, to the best positioning of the product, through to its connection to the existing power and water systems and ongoing control.
- Product knowledge: delivery of knowledge around specific products and technical issues for each technology.
- Commissioning and maintenance: the skills for the commissioning, maintenance and service of these technologies post-installation.
- Innovation, entrepreneurship and business development: developing the confidence of businesses to work with new technologies.
It is important for employers to be aware of the immense potential commercial gains if they are prepared to invest in low-carbon skills. If businesses consider the skills in their organisation that could evolve, significant advantages over their competitors could be gained as more and more projects specify the need for environmental technologies.
Keith Marshall OBE is chief executive of SummitSkills