Swale Heating, one of the UK’s leading independently-owned heating companies, has established an independent gas and energy services training business and invested £100,000 in a new training centre which offers in-house training for staff as well as offering a comprehensive range of courses open to plumbers, installers, electricians and gas engineers from outside the company.
The state-of-the-art training centre, named The Energy Academy, was officially opened on December 8 and is housed in a specially converted former warehouse at Swale Heating’s headquarters in Sittingbourne, Kent.
Fully qualified trainers and assessors will work in partnership with Logic Certification and industry leading independent assessors and verifiers, external from the Swale Heating business, to avoid any conflict in interests between the two companies and the certification body.
The centre offers courses covering natural gas, LPG, oil, solid fuel, biomass, renewable energy, unvented hot water, underfloor heating (UFH), plumbing, electrics and non-technical qualifications for industry operatives as well as dedicated MLP courses for new entrants to the industry.
Removing the need for third-party apprenticeship schemes, Managed Learning Programs (MLPs) will also be held at the training centre, including transition schemes to develop plumbers into gas engineers.
The centre is fitted with a range of modern equipment, allowing trainees to gain practical experience in domestic heating systems; natural gas, LPG, and oil. Domestic to commercial change over training is also available, covering systems with outputs greater than 70kw. The facility also features HETAS and Biomass rigs, with flues from market leader Poujoulait, first offering HETAS awareness training followed by installer training later on.
Renewable energy training resources at the centre include solar heating, UFH in partnership with manufacturer Myson, unvented hot water and air heat source pumps. Learners can take an advanced wiring course for heating systems and NICIEC training is available for electricians.
Managing director, David Mathieson, said: “The investment is part of a comprehensive development plan to help Swale Heating grow its business across the UK and to invest in developing the skills needed to provide our customers with the best possible service.
“Our in-house training centre will allow us to improve the way we train and the way we work. Refresher training, career development and ‘top up’ assessments for staff will become more convenient, sustainable and affordable. Customers can be sure that they are receiving excellent service from engineers who are fully up to date with the latest products and industry developments.”
Swale Heating expects the investment to pay for itself by radically reducing the cost of staff training while giving the opportunity to bring in additional revenue by training candidates from outside organisations. Highly qualified trainers and independent assessors and verifiers will ensure that all candidates get the best and fairest assessments carried out, within a calm and modern industry leading environment.
Swale Heating’s original training centre will be gutted and transformed into a new induction centre.