Green Deal gets £3.5 million cash injection

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced that it will provide £3.5 million worth of funding to help train energy assessors and installers to participate in the upcoming Green Deal.

The Green Deal is the Coalition Government’s flagship environmental policy that holds the lofty ambition of transforming the UK’s property stock from draughty, inefficient buildings into more energy-efficient properties. A quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions are a direct result of domestic energy consumption, with a similar amount attributed to commercial energy consumption. Government estimate that the Green Deal will support 65,000 jobs by 2015 and significantly reduce the UK’s emissions and energy consumption.

The announcement of the additional funding builds on a promise made by the Deputy Prime Minister in March last year, that the scheme will create 1,000 Green Deal apprenticeships.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Edward Davey, said: “This money will help hundreds of people gear up for the Green Deal and ensure this scheme is a real success on the ground. 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.”

CITB-ConstructionSkills, a key partner in the Green Deal Skills Alliance, will provide £500,000 on top of DECC’s contribution of £3 million to allow more people to be trained as insulation installers.

CITB-ConstructionSkills CEO Mark Farrar said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant step towards preparing the construction industry for the Government’s flagship efficiency scheme. Training shortfalls have been identified as one of the main barriers to the success of the scheme. We have invested funds to tackle training shortages and unlock commercial opportunities for SMEs and we welcome DECC’s commitment to skills and training by doing the same thing. We are now calling on employers and the supply chain to also invest in sustainable skills training for their workforce, so they too can capitalise on the Green Deal.”

DECC has also announced that it will be funding a commercial energy efficiency competition worth £10 million. The competition will be run by the Technology Strategy Board and will provide grants to innovative energy efficiency technologies that help improve non-domestic buildings’ energy-efficiency. Currently, emissions from non-domestic buildings account for around 18 percent of the UK’s total carbon emissions.

The UK green tech community has largely welcomed the announcement of additional funds. Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association commented: “We have been working closely with Government on plans to significantly ramp up Solid Wall Insulation volumes under the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation and identified the need for support for skills and training at an early stage. We therefore welcome today’s announcement that DECC and Construction Skills will be making £2.5 million available for installer training and we look forward to working with them in the coming weeks to agree the most effective method of deploying the funds.”  

Brian Smithers, Business Development Director, Rexel UK echoed industry’s concerns about lack of training, stating: “Training will make or break the Green Deal. 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.”

Smithers also explained why the British public need educating about energy efficiency as well, stating: “Rexel’s recent energy efficiency survey found that over a quarter of Brits would be motivated to save energy if they had access to financial subsidies, yet 90 percent hadn’t heard of schemes such as Carbon Trust Loans.”

Over the coming months, DECC will work closely with the sector skills councils, employers and BIS to further develop new Apprenticeship schemes. DECC will be holding an event in May later this year, where Greg Barker will be providing further details about how the new funding will be spent.