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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-11181

  • Asked by: Miles Briggs, MSP for Lothian, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 23 September 2022
  • Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 6 October 2022


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide any reskilling or training initiatives to train workers to install net zero heating mechanisms such as heat pumps.


We recognise that installer skills for zero emissions heating systems and energy efficiency measures will need to scale up significantly to support the scale of ambition in our heat in buildings strategy.

Since publishing our draft Heat in Buildings Strategy for consultation in February 2021, we have increased our investment in skills and training opportunities within this sector. Over £1.49 million has been invested through our National Transition Training Fund (NTTF), which has supported over 3,350 participants to access courses for heat pump, energy efficiency and retrofit construction skills. NTTF is now complete and the findings from this and other skills programmes will inform the development of a lifetime skills offer. This is one of the key skilled workforce commitments set out in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation

We have also provided £160,000 capital investment for colleges in the north of Scotland for heat pump and thermal insulation training equipment, with further investment in the South of Scotland colleges provided by the SP Energy Networks Green Economy Fund.

Further initiatives include the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF), the Heat Pump Skills Grant and MCS Certification Fund.

FWDF provides funding to help employers address priority skills gaps and training needs in their organisations. It provides up to £15,000 of training support to UK Apprenticeship Levy payers, and up to £5,000 is accessible to non-levy paying SMEs. Training can be delivered in partnership with a local college, the Open University in Scotland or through an independent training provider.

The Heat Pump Skills Grant is delivered in partnership between the Energy Saving Trust and Energy Skills Partnership and has supported 10 colleges across Scotland in providing additional heat pump training to their plumbing and heating apprentices.

The MCS Certification Fund is offered to assist Scottish SMEs installing heat pumps in achieving MCS certification for the first time. This funding is for installers who are not currently MCS certified for heat pumps and who want to become MCS certified for any heat pump technology (air, water, or ground source).

A wide range of training opportunities for individuals, including heating related courses, are also available through the Individual Training Account scheme. The Scheme offers unemployed individuals or those on a low income, aged 16 and over, up to £200 per year to help them develop skills to enter into or progress in jobs within key sectors.

We recognise the need to continue our support for skills and training in this sector. We will shortly publish a new Supply Chains Delivery Plan, setting out a broad system of support for businesses working in the energy efficiency and zero emissions heating retrofit sector.