Government forks out £3.5m for green skills training

Energy secretary Ed Davey has unveiled £3.5m of green skills funding in a bid to train hundreds of people ahead of the Government's flagship Green Deal roll out.

Set to begin later this year, the Green Deal scheme aims to improve the energy efficiency of millions of commercial and residential properties across the UK by removing upfront payment barriers.

It is also hoped it will generate about 65,000 green jobs by 2015, however much of its success is dependent on the UK having enough trained and skilled green assessors and installers to support the scheme.

Announcing the funding today (March 8), Mr Davey said the funding is needed to help people “gear up for the Green Deal and ensure this scheme is a real success on the ground”.

He added: We have worked hand in hand with industry to get this right and are targeting funding at the areas where there is an urgent need as well as a clear demand. We hope this will encourage businesses across the country to fully prepare their staff for the launch of the Green Deal later this year.”

The bulk of the funding, £3m, is set to be provided by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), while Green Alliance partner CITB-ConstructionSkills, will provide a further £500,000 towards the training of insulation installers.

CITB-ConstructionSkills ceo Mark Farrar said that the move marks a “significant step” towards preparing the construction industry, adding that “training shortfalls have been identified as one of the main barriers to the success of the scheme”.

As a result, he called on employers and the supply chain to invest in sustainable skills training for their workforce, in order to capitalise on the Green Deal.

However, electrical installation distributor Rexel UK business development director Brian Smithers warned that training will “make or break” the Green Deal.

He said: “In a complex and sometimes confusing market, it’s crucial that the industry has the skills to help consumers make informed energy decisions. There is still a widespread lack of understanding of how green technologies can help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes and reduce bills.”

Concerns have also been raised by industry bodies, including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which warned demand is essential to the success of the scheme.

DECC is also funding a £10m competition, set to launch in May, to find innovative technologies which achieve significant energy savings in existing non-domestic buildings.

Carys Matthews

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