Rural Energy has opened its Biomass Training and Skills Centre, in Leicestershire, to up-skill engineers from across the heating and renewables sector, arming them with the knowledge and hands-on experience needed to deliver biomass installations.
Investing more than £150,000 into the facility, Rural Energy has fully equipped the 1,800 square foot training space with a range of Herz biomass boilers, to give students practical experience of operating boilers from this brand – of which Rural Energy is the only UK supplier. Supported by a large teaching classroom and a mechanical and electrical training area, the facility is positioned to deliver in depth training on all aspects of biomass design, installation and commissioning.
Paul Clark, managing director of Rural Energy, said:
“The launch of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) earlier this year has added to the considerable demand already generated by the commercial arm of the scheme, so a growing number of businesses are now offering specialist biomass technology in the UK market. Many gas boiler and solar PV installers, for example, are looking to up-skill and add biomass to their service offering.
“We recognised that there was a real gap in the market as, until now, there has been very little training and support available to businesses from manufacturers. This has created a shortage of properly qualified and experienced biomass heating engineers, which impacts negatively on the industry as a whole. From our point of view, developing a well-trained and highly skilled workforce gives us genuine confidence that our distribution network has the capability to deliver the standard of installation we expect – which protects the reputation of the biomass industry as a whole.”
Led by a dedicated biomass product trainer, courses have a strong practical element and engineers are given the opportunity to get hands-on as they learn about the operation of the boiler and take fuel feeds, augers and grates. Courses available at the centre cover a range of comprehensive topics, including Herz biomass boilers, control systems, fuel feed options and fuel quality. Additionally, mechanical and electrical aspects of installation and operation, commissioning, maintenance, servicing and government incentives such as the RHI, are also included.
The training does not end when the participants leave the facility, as the quality control programme means that before being approved as a partner engineer, students must complete further on site training and inspection until Rural Energy is fully satisfied of their competence. This reduces the need for issue resolution and ensures that Rural Energy’s entire distribution network is able to provide safe and professional installations with minimal technical support requirements, call outs and snag resolutions.