Plumbers urged to up-skill for renewable heating

Plumbers are being advised to invest their time in training in domestic renewable heating by an industry body.

The Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC) has advised its members to take advantage of a new government scheme that is hoping to encourage households to invest in environmentally-friendly power generating technologies.

It's aiming to change a trend of consumers relying on oil, electric and LPG heating to instead use renewable sources.

Over half a million pounds has been made available by the government to support tradespeople wishing to up-skill so they are eligible to support the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Engineers can apply for the cost of 75 per cent of their training and assessment, up to the value of £500.

The courses, available via City & Guilds, offers professionals the opportunity to widen their knowledge, improve their competence when dealing with environmental technologies and learn how to install and maintain such innovations in a home environment.

Currently, the organisation is running a number of Level 3 Awards in this field, including Installation of Water Harvesting and Re-use Systems, Installation of Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems, and Fundamental Principles and Requirements of Environmental Technology Systems.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, an RHI apprenticeship support scheme has also been created by the Department of Energy & Climate Change. This allows them to apply for a maximum of ten vouchers - worth up to £2,500 each - that can be used to provide financial help for those nearing the end of their plumbing apprenticeships and wishing to pursue training in one or more renewable technologies.

According to the APHC, take-up of the vouchers has already been high and candidates are advised to register their interest as soon as possible, either by visiting the RHI Training website or by phoning a dedicated helpline.

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