CPD Qualification Supports Engineers for Future of Heat

Kevin Wellman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering shares his thoughts on the future of heat and how a new low temperature qualification means engineers can be ready for the changes to come.

As the 2050 Net Zero target draws closer, the plumbing and heating industry must be ready to play a significant part in helping the UK achieve a carbon neutral future. Heat pumps and other low temperature systems will soon become far more commonplace than they currently are. With this in mind, the CIPHE has launched a new Low Temperature Heating and Hot Water Systems in Dwellings qualification to support proficiency and quality with low temperature systems.

Click here to watch our webinar with the CIPHE about the qualification.

Low Temperature and Net Zero

Due to how common traditional boilers are, most heating and plumbing engineers are competent and confident installing and maintaining these systems. However, because of the perceived newness of heat pumps, experienced engineers will need to refresh their skills so they can deliver the same quality of work on low temperature heating systems.

To make this possible, the CIPHE has launched a qualification that will help engineers and installers design efficient and effective low temperature systems. The course aims to give knowledge and proficiency to existing industry professionals and is the first low temperature qualification to be approved by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). Supporting the new qualification, Lord Callanan, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility said: “The CIPHE’s work to promote low temperature heating skills is a wonderful example of the innovation in skills and education that will be needed to reach Net Zero.”

Heat Pump Confidence, Competence, and Quality

Due to low temperature heating systems being in its infancy, it is especially important for engineers to develop a core understanding of the factors that influence a heating system. This includes which radiators can support a low temperature system, pipe sizing, and building layout. Installers can get this core understanding by enrolling on this CPD course.

When a customer needs guidance, it is important that engineers can offer solutions that will work for the customer’s home and budget and this new qualification will ensure that installers are able to apply heating design principles to their customers’ requirements. An added bonus is that the knowledge gained will help customers have trust that their heating and plumbing professional will be able to carry out the work confidently and to a high quality.

The CIPHE has always advocated for competency and professionalism throughout the industry and, to further their cause, is offering access to this CPD course to members and non-members of the CIPHE. To further build confidence in plumbing and heating professionals, installers who successfully complete the qualification are invited to highlight their training record to clients and customers.

Apprenticeships and Education

For the UK to reach Net Zero, the CIPHE believes training courses like these are vital. However, there are still several barriers to overcome, such as the number of plumbing and heating engineers. It is estimated that there are currently around 150,000 installers in the UK and the Trade Trends Report 2021 shows that, over the last 16 years, the number entering the industry has declined by 4.19%. This means that a lot of work is needed to meet the government’s target of 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028.

To help more people enter the profession, the CIPHE has also launched a new “Joint Apprenticeship” initiative with the Worshipful Company of Plumbers. The Joint Apprenticeship will offer industry newcomers increased support and mentoring.

It is clear there is much to do to achieve Net Zero by 2050. The CPD qualification will certainly help to support proficiency, however a more unified route into the industry is also required. In the CIPHE’s ongoing campaign to raise industry standards, they are encouraging the development and sharing of resources to help engineers exemplify that high standard. The industry is in a period of change as much needed low temperature systems are increasing in popularity. Plumbing and heating engineers must learn these new technologies in order to continue delivering excellent service to the public. They can confirm their competence and professionalism by enrolling in a CIPHE membership.

To learn more about becoming part of the solution to issues our industry faces, please visit ciphe.org.uk