The government’s Green Deal consultation announcement has been met with concern from EAL, the awarding organisation for industry qualifications, which warns that any delays will put added pressure on industry to have the necessary skills and training in place by October 2012.
Ann Watson, managing director of EAL, said, “The energy and climate change secretary’s announcement yesterday that the Green Deal will help attract billions in investment and support thousands of new jobs is a welcome one. But if industry is to meet the Green Deal’s goals, by developing and delivering training programmes to upskill the workforce in advance of the October launch, then further delays must be kept to a minimum.
“We must have a skilled workforce in place, which can identify and install the energy saving technologies that government highlights in its consultation document, so that homes and businesses can begin taking advantage as soon as measures are available.
“One important aspect needed will be a new qualification to ensure home energy experts, or ‘Green Deal Advisors’, have the right skills to advise and be trusted by customers. Unfortunately, the final details of this role are not due until secondary legislation is laid before parliament in the spring.
“EAL is already providing high quality, rigorous qualifications in the renewables sector. Working alongside Parity Projects, a leading expert in energy focussed property refurbishment, we have pioneered a new qualification in understanding sustainable refurbishment – an important aspect of the Green Deal. It gives tradespeople and professionals the skills and expertise to identify opportunities in the retro-fitting of energy saving measures but also to be able to provide a more holistic approach to renovation to maximise energy savings whilst minimising the cost of the work.
“Time is required to develop and deliver qualifications such as these, however. They must meet industry requirements, be rigorous in their approach to upskilling trainees and ultimately provide them with a worthwhile qualification that enables them to take advantage of opportunities in this emerging market. The sooner the detail of the Green Deal is agreed, the sooner businesses and organisations can ensure that the right training and qualifications are available to provide the workforce with the necessary skills and expertise to meet government’s goals.”
Russell Smith, managing director of Parity Projects added, “It is extremely important to recognise that the critical path to getting an industry of competent people also includes the training of the nation’s trainers, and we need this to be done in a considered fashion. We are working very hard on our ‘train the trainer’ offer which is available very soon but final details of government initiatives are needed to weave into it.”