The Installer Skills Gap in the UK Heat Pump Sector and the Impacts on a Just Transition to Net-Zero

Zoe Branford, Jennifer Roberts

Research output: Other contribution

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Abstract

The UK heat pump sector is set to play an integral part in the transition to net-zero in the UK, with the Climate Change Committee anticipating that, to reach 2050 climate targets, 17 million UK homes may have a heat pump installed (CCC, 2019). At the same time, the sector currently has low levels of technology deployment, and might be hindered by a skills gap in the sector. This research aimed to understand the nature and scale of potential skills gaps, its drivers and implications for a ‘just transition’ (i.e. fair and equitable transition) to net-zero.

Through literature review and interviews with industry stakeholders, the research found that the decision-making environment around the skills gap is complex, and:
There are many barriers for the UK heat pump sector, including a significant installer skills gap. Barriers include high capital cost of installations, lack of consumer demand, little government clarity or support, and low levels of education and knowledge of the technologies. The relative levels of threat posed by the skills gap compared to other barriers for the sector is unclear.
Younger and older generation of workers are most exposed to the risks of an industry skills gap. Young people could benefit greatly from growing job opportunities in the sector if problems such as low wages for apprenticeships, inconsistencies in quality of training and lack of routes into the sector were addressed.
The skills gap could pose significant negative implications to consumers. Consumers installing heat pumps could face a significant financial threat from an industry skills gap, specifically lower income households, through capital and running cost implications.

Currently, the skills gap and its impacts is widening social inequality and hindering growth of the UK heat pump sector. Policy makers, training providers and the heating industry must address the skills gap to ensure sustainable and equitable employment opportunities in the sector and to support the UKs ambitions for a just transition to net zero.
Original languageEnglish
TypeResearch briefing
Media of outputPDF
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages8
Place of PublicationGlasgow
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • heat pump
  • skills gap
  • retrofit
  • UK
  • just transition

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