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Bolton College unveils low-carbon plumbing Apprenticeship

27 March 2024

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Bolton College celebrated the launch of its new plumbing Apprenticeship with a gathering of industry guests and specialists.


In response to the escalating demand for skilled professionals within the low-carbon heating sector, the College will run a pioneering Low-Carbon Heating Technician Apprenticeship from August.


Developed by employers in collaboration with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), the newly launched Apprenticeship programme is underpinned by the support of the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), which champions renewable technologies.


Thanks to employer input, the Apprenticeship is custom-designed to meet the increasing demand in the plumbing industry for professionals skilled in renewables and sustainable technology.


The Apprenticeship also aligns with the government's commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with low-carbon heating and hot water systems required in all new homes from next year.


While the College's current plumbing Apprenticeships and study programmes encompass aspects of sustainable technologies, this new Apprenticeship signifies a substantial leap by exclusively focusing on low-carbon heating solutions.


The impact of the Apprenticeship is already evident; it was selected by industry experts from IfATE to feature the coronation emblem in honour of King Charles III's Coronation, distinguishing it as one of only six green Apprenticeships with this honour.


Ian Hall, a plumbing tutor, assessor, IQA and resource designer at Bolton College is the curriculum development chair of the Growth & Development Group for the Apprenticeship, a committee that oversees the promotion, development, and administration of the programme.


Ian organised the launch event, which was attended by representatives from key organisations, including Bolton at Home, NHS Property Services and Plumbtec (NW) – with UK director Adam Kenyon in attendance. Joining them were Andy Louth, Managing Director for GroundTherm and Martyn Raine, Sector Skills Manager from MCS.


Adam Kenyon said: “I know first-hand how important Apprenticeships are, having completed my Level 3 plumbing and heating Apprenticeship at Bolton College around 20 years ago; they are the key to future growth and skills within a critical industry.


“The launch of this Apprenticeship is a step in the right direction as we transition towards low carbon heating technology.


“The heat pump sector is growing at a rapid rate and the only way to continue this growth is to educate and train the next generation of heating engineers in the latest technology and heating design.


“The launch of this Apprenticeship will put Bolton College at the forefront of developing the next generation of engineers.”


Andy Louth said: "The apprenticeship is vitally important to the industry from the employer group standpoint, in my role as the chair of the employer group.


“I feel that it is important that the colleges and employers work together to meet the industry needs and further the apprentices’ development.


“The employers have worked very hard to create the duties with the KSB's which meet the evolving industry, which Bolton College has totally taken on board and led the development, and therefore is ready to deliver due to engagement with employers and MCS".


Martyn Raine, Sector Skills Manager at MCS said: “We are pleased to support Bolton College as they prepare to launch the new Low Carbon Heating Technician apprenticeship.


“The apprenticeship will equip a new generation with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to have a successful career in low carbon heating sector.


“The future of home heating includes heat pumps and solar thermal and as we drive towards Net Zero this apprenticeship will help contribute to the skilled workforce required.”


Ian Hall added: “This Apprenticeship is ground breaking and is crucially needed by the sector; the event served as a platform to showcase the Apprenticeship and foster dialogue among organisations to explore its applicability to their needs.


“It has been a privilege to contribute to this pioneering Apprenticeship and to have the opportunity to collaborate with MCS and IfATE in driving it forward.


“We eagerly anticipate welcoming our apprentices in August and to embarking on this journey.”