How can we educate the next generation of heating engineers?

As the heating industry continues to develop and grow, it is more crucial than ever that younger generations are engaged with and excited by engineering.

Steve Owen, National Training Manager at Baxi, explains how the company is planning to attract the next generation of heating engineers as part of its commitment to creating a sustainable workforce.

As we transition to a low carbon future, upskilling current engineers and attracting and retaining new talent is more important than ever. A key part of driving sustainability within the sector is ensuring young people are raring to enter the industry and are receiving quality training in the basics of engineering, as well as the development and installation of efficient current and new heating systems, whilst the industry works towards the decarbonisation of domestic heating.

Apprentices

A vital part of strengthening the heating industry workforce is through the training and development of apprentices. Not only do apprenticeships provide young people with hands on training and experience to become qualified as a heating engineer, but they also provide the means for existing businesses to grow while demand for work increases.

Having more qualified engineers entering the industry is also a key part of closing the skills gap and futureproofing the industry as it continues to expand. For a manufacturer like Baxi, encouraging young people who are interested in engineering to take up apprenticeship opportunities is important, to guarantee new talent for the future and safeguard the company.

As part of this commitment, Baxi has continued its Apprenticeship Scheme for Baxi Works members and Baxi Customer Support Engineers and has confirmed eight apprentice placements this year. Each apprentice will take a two year course, receiving on-site hands-on training and also course-based learning which will be taking place at Birmingham Metropolitan College.

Starting off young

Raising awareness of careers in the industry is very important to ensure young people have time to consider routes into the sector and job options, as they progress through the education system.

Baxi has joined forces with Primary Engineer, an educational not-for-profit organisation that provides programmes to encourage children from ages three to 19 years to consider science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Baxi will work alongside Primary Engineer representatives and teachers in 10 primary schools in Preston, inspiring and encouraging pupils while they work on innovative engineering projects for an end of year competition.

Baxi’s intention is to ensure the heating industry is an attractive prospect for the next generation, whether it’s encouraging them to pursue a career in research and development, heating engineering or on the manufacturing side. Helping children develop an interest early on can create excitement and maybe even discover the next great innovators.

Delivering into the future

Ongoing training for qualified engineers, as well as the new wave of apprentices, will continue to be key to building a strong industry. As the global shift towards sustainable energy gathers pace, training will have to adapt to the new renewable technologies that are coming to the fore.

An example of this already in motion is the apprenticeship course modules. As well as becoming an ACS Gas Safe Registered Engineer, apprentices will also receive learning and development around new specialist technologies such as air source heat pumps (ASHPs).

Training will become available on hydrogen installations as it becomes more integrated into the wider heating mix. This is likely to consist of an extra module on the Gas Safe qualification and will mean that existing engineers, current apprentices, and apprentices of the future can all be up to speed on the latest innovations.

All of the industry has a responsibility to decarbonise heating and drive sustainability in all operations. Creating a sustainable and engaged workforce is crucial to this and

Baxi is committed to playing its role in ensuring future generations accelerate progress and continue to innovate the sector.

For more information on training and development available to engineers, apprentices and young people, visit www.baxi.co.uk

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