Heating industry failing to upskill workforce, suggests research

L-R: Jo Alsop and Caroline Williams of The Heating Hub

The UK’s heating industry has failed to train and upskill boiler installers to the standards required to fit modern condensing boilers, according to research by The Heating Hub.

Its survey found 86% of installers felt “let down” by the sector, with little investment made to upskill the workforce in heating system design.

The Heating Hub said the vast majority of installers were not adequately trained to fit modern condensing boilers to run at their A-rated label efficiencies as a result.

Jo Alsop, founder of The Heating Hub, said: “In the vast majority of UK homes we find an oversized boiler, incorrect boiler setup and ineffective controls, including many smart controls. 

“So little is understood about the damage this causes that consumers, and indeed boiler engineers, have come to believe a boiler will last on average between seven and 12 years, when it should last 22 years. As a result, we have one of the highest boiler replacement rates in Europe, with 1.7 million boilers replaced each year.”

The Heating Hub research found only 1% of registered domestic gas engineers had completed training in heating system design, and it said there was only one course on hydronics currently available in the UK.

Jo added: “Such is the complete absence of formal training for hydronic system design, that installers have had to rely on their own learning and peer support via WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups to progress. This lack of investment is failing installers and their customers, not to mention causing the unnecessary premature replacement of hundreds of thousands of boilers every year.”

The Heating Hub has launched an impartial, paid-for ‘Hero Support Service’ following the findings. The company’s Expert Panel is made up of five specialists in their field who have individually worked to improve standards across the heating sector, it said.