A new National Gas Centre for Excellence (NGCFE) 6,000 sq ft state-of-the-art centre in Featherstone, West Yorkshire, has set out to drive up standards.
Its training and assessment programmes will be delivered to nationally-recognised standards and is focused on the needs of the engineer – from those just completing basic training to fully qualified engineers wishing to update their certificates. Its courses cover gas, plumbing and health and safety.
Just under £200,000 has been invested to equip the centre – which is situated close to the M62 and A1 – while its directly employed trainers and assessors all have a wealth of industry experience.
The centre delivers an array or practical experience, with workshop and classroom spaces fully kitted out with the latest heating, ventilation, and plumbing technology.
Managing director Michael Hunt said he has had first-hand experience of the ‘production line’ approach to training. “The NGCFE provides an alternative to the tick box approach to training which often fails to offer the depth of knowledge and theory that is required,” he said.
In addition, a large area has been allocated for future training requirements involved in the renewable sector, including hydrogen heating systems.
Michael added: “More than half of all qualified gas engineers are aged over 55 and as they leave or retire, they are not being replaced at a fast-enough rate.
“As a result, we want to provide a quality alternative to the many fast-track training centres that sprang up as a result.
“While most of the UK’s homes continue to use gas boilers, they will eventually be replaced by new heating technologies, such as hydrogen and electric heat pumps – which will require fully-trained engineers to install, maintain and repair them.
“The gas engineer’s skills and expertise are transferable and will be in huge demand as this country continues its transition to a low carbon future.”