Future-proof your work with the CIPHE's new training course

Following the government’s announcement that gas-fired boilers would be banned from new homes by 2025, the CIPHE recognised the immediate need to provide an opportunity for plumbing and heating engineers to learn new skills. As a result the CIPHE introduced a course, supported by the Heat Pump Association and manufacturers, which gives installers an overview of system design.

The Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Design course acts as a foundation for installing any heat generator. Installers will receive a qualification, awarded by LCL Awards, on completion of the Ofqual-approved course.

“The course aims to increase installers’ skills to help achieve the government’s net zero target,” explains Mark Krull, director of LCL Awards. “As an industry, we need to design and install efficient heating and hot water systems that meet customers’ needs, whether that’s using gas, hydrogen, oil or heat pumps. LCL Awards is excited to be partnering with the CIPHE to deliver this course, which enables installers to prepare the industry for a more sustainable future.”

The focus of the course is to build upon installers’ awareness of heating design, when implementing low temperature heating and hot water systems, as this plays a vital role in installing any kind of heat generator effectively.

“The course aims to give installers an appreciation of the risks and effects as we transition towards net zero,” explains Paul Harmer CEng MIET, CIPHE lead technical consultant, who led its development. “There needs to be more emphasis on a co-design process which will lead to increased engagement between installers, consumers and manufacturers. The more installers understand about the design aspect of heating and hot water systems, the better they will be at installing systems that are efficient and best suited to their customers’ needs as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach.

“With the government’s ambitious targets, the industry needs to start investing in training for the future now. However, we have to walk before we can run and this course is the first step in raising awareness and knowledge among installers.”


Kevin Wellman, chief executive officer of the CIPHE, explains more about the Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Design course

Is it compulsory?

Not at the moment, but it is hoped that the government will endorse the course. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been involved in its development and is supportive. It will also be an entry point for the new heat pump specific training course just launched by the Heat Pump Association (HPA).

Will it provide any self-certification route for any heat source, hybrid or multi-fuel systems?

There are not many recognised courses available with the exception of BESA and MCS. If the government supports the qualification, it is hoped that the course will be attended by anyone wanting to access government grants to install heat pumps. Self-certification and ongoing competency should thereafter be monitored by a recognised organisation.

Can we expand on this and use this as a module for a new and updated IDHEE Diploma for Domestic Heating Design course?

Yes, we have plans to develop the CIPHE Design Guide and the IDHEE training course to provide a suite of courses and supporting Insight Guides.

Could all this then lead to the foundation for licensing plumbing and heating engineers?

We hope so and we will continue to promote licensing at every opportunity. We refer to licensing, mandatory CPD and the need for the industry to upskill in just about every communication we have with the government. We have expressed our support for a Protection of Title in Scotland for the plumbing industry akin to the case put forward for electricians.

What is the longer term vision and aspiration?

To make the course the foundation qualification prior to commencing any of the manufacturers’ heat pump training programmes. In linking the two lots of training provision into a formal managed learning programme, it would undoubtedly attract the interest of the Department for Education (DfE). As other courses and qualifications are developed, the CIPHE’s technical stature will increase immensely. As well as growing the CIPHE’s membership, our relationships with Industrial Associates, colleges and approved training providers will also be enhanced.

Why should they do it?

Complete installations need to be sized accordingly as it will not be appropriate to replace boilers in isolation. Installers will need to be familiarised with the relevant design criteria, especially with retrofit installations. Attending the course and achieving the qualification should enhance knowledge and competence and also give installers confidence with technologies that might be new to them.

What is the need?

The government will continue to promote its net zero agenda and, as public demand for low temperature technology increases, there should be significant opportunities available.

Is the course accredited?

Yes, the qualification is approved by Ofqual, making it unique to the industry.

Is funding available?

The DfE is keen for the CIPHE to apply for funding under phase 3 of its ‘Boot Camp’. Such training is often held over a 16-week timescale but in reality a minimum of 45 guided or managed learning hours must be provided if the CIPHE is to pursue such funding.

Does the industry support the course?

The HPA is saying you should attend this course in order to attend its own course, showing that a knowledge of heating design is essential to the success of a heat pump specification. Manufacturers also support the course, as do awarding organisations such as LCL Awards and City & Guilds.

What is the CIPHE’s involvement with the course?

We have prepared the slides for the course which will be accessible via a licence agreement with training providers. We have also produced an Insight Guide which training providers will be required to purchase to assist with the training. The costs for this will be announced shortly.

How many installers are anticipated to attend the training?

It is estimated that a minimum of 4,000 installers will be trained in the next two years.

How will the course be promoted?

In addition to CIPHE publications and mailshots to manufacturers, the Heat Pump Association and LCL Awards will promote the course. City & Guilds will promote it via their Smartscreen facility and direct to their training centres. InstallerSHOW will be the first exhibition where it will be promoted. Industry editors will also be encouraged to report on the course throughout next year.

When will the course commence?

A Train the Trainer course took place at the end of September with a view to promoting the course from October this year. We anticipate running further Train the Trainer events throughout next year, with colleges and manufacturers then delivering the training for engineers.

Is the course only for CIPHE members, or can anyone complete it?

As an educational charity we believe that access to this course should be available throughout the industry.

Has there been any sign of support from the government for the qualification?

At a meeting of the Electrification of Heat Task Group on 9 September, the Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water design course was accepted as a recognised qualification.

What does the government think of the training that the CIPHE offers with assistance from the Heat Pump Association?

Rt. Hon. MP Kwasi Kwarteng said: “While heat pumps are fast becoming the natural option for households, we need to ensure we have enough skilled tradespeople to hit our target of 600,000 installations each year by 2028 – so the Heat Pump Association setting up this training scheme is absolutely critical to this endeavour.

“Today’s news is a great example of how government and industry can work together to accelerate progress and create the high-skilled jobs needed to make homes greener and more energy efficient.”

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