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Retrofit skills bootcamps launched to help develop energy saving technologies and skills in the West Midlands

Published: Tuesday 22 Nov 2022

Hundreds of people are to undergo free specialist training so they have the skills needed to retrofit the latest energy saving technologies to upgrade thousands of homes across the region.

A number of Retrofit Bootcamps are being funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to help equip existing engineers and others with the skills and knowledge to install green technologies such as heat pumps, solar panels and super-efficient insulation.

Not only will the bootcamps help people find work in the green industries of the future but the installation of retrofit products will help the West Midlands in its ambitious #WM2041 target to be a net zero region with the next two decades.

Telford College and Teach A Trade staff with the first batch of engineers on the free course

Telford College and Teach A Trade staff with the first batch of engineers on the free course

The first bootcamp, which has launched at Teach A Trade in partnership with Telford College, this bootcamp provides gas engineers heating engineers and plumbers the chance upskill and gain the essential qualification required to install, service and maintain air source heat pumps. Along side the heat pump qualification participants will complete a level 2 mental health awareness course to raise awareness and provide the increase in mental health issues within the construction industry.

Heat pumps are seen as critical technology for decarbonising heating in domestic homes but the UK’s Committee on Climate Change says that by 2030 the country will need to be installing a million heat pumps every year if it is to reach its net zero targets. That will require thousands of engineers with the right skills.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As the home of Britain's Green Industrial Revolution, the West Midlands is set to create tens of thousands of jobs in the coming years as we work towards our #WM2041 plan to tackle the climate emergency.

“It is therefore absolutely critical that we get local people the skills they need to develop energy saving technologies as we move towards upgrading more and more homes across the region.”

Telford college has teamed up with Telford-based Teach A Trade for the ‘bootcamp’ project, which is being funded from the £11m the WMCA secured from Government for skills bootcamps in September.

The fully accredited course is delivered at Teach A Trades’ Halesfield-based training centre by industry experts with vast practical and theoretical knowledge. Successful completion of the course leads to an LCL awards level 3 in the installation and maintenance of heat pump systems.

Beckie Bosworth, head of employer engagement at Telford College, said: “We will be training a total of 128 people over the next six months.

“This is a really exciting project that fits perfectly with the college’s strategic plans for become an ethical skills eco system for the region, promoting green skills and working towards net zero.

“Everyone who completes the course will hold the qualifications required to meet Microgeneration Certification Scheme standards for installing and maintaining air source heat pumps.”

Harry Wilkinson, Managing Director of Teach A Trade says “The bootcamp has been a great success so far, we have already upskilled 74 engineers from across the industry, both large employers and self employed engineers have taken the opportunity to utilise this available funding. The incorporation of the mental health has been very well received and is a subject very close to me personally. This bootcamp has been an opportunity for Teach A Trade in partnership with Telford College to lead the way in upskilling our workforce of today with the skills required to drive the region towards net zero.

Teach A Trade are rapidly expanding our provision to included other green technologies such as EV Charging, Solar PV, Solar Thermal and Domestic energy storage, which will be available in the new year.”

Cllr George Duggins, WMCA portfolio holder for productivity and skills, and leader of Coventry City Council, added: These retrofit bootcamps are exactly what we need to help new, young workers start a career in the promising field of green energy.  

“As well as promoting the path towards net zero, the course will also give real life working experience to students who will hopefully go on working on live retrofit projects across the region.”

The course is free to engineers who are working in the industry, and hold qualifying qualifications. For full details, see

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