What attracted you to a career in the heating industry?
I had always enjoyed hands-on, practical work and I was interested in learning a trade but I wasn’t quite sure where to start. When I saw the Your Energy Your Way (YEYW) trainee scheme and its focus on both electrics and plumbing in the low carbon heating industry, that got me really excited to start my career in the sector. I was also encouraged by the diversity of the traineeship and the fact that YEYW has a 50/50 split of men and women.
How is the YEYW traineeship scheme helping to provide the foundations for a career in the trade?
This particular traineeship offers training across all the skills needed which is part of the reason why I chose it. It’s a well-rounded scheme, focused on ‘whole house’ heat pumps, solar panels, and batteries whereas some traineeships only focus one aspect of the industry.
The job is physical when on the tools, but there is also lot of theory which is really important when building the foundations of a career in heating. We do fortnightly theory sessions with Nathan Gambling from BetaTeach and also chat during the week on the BetaTeach platform. Then we do the task on the job with supervision, which is great for building confidence.
As well as being out on the tools, we learn about customer engagement for example, and we are taught to use the software for design and installation. Another really interesting area has been learning about the health and safety aspect of the job. I learnt about using harnesses and ladders for example, and completed the asbestos awareness training course. Keeping yourself and the customer safe is very important when working in this type of environment and it’s something that should form the foundation of the approach to any project.
What part of the job do you enjoy most?
I really enjoy that no day is the same, it’s a real mix and there is always something new to do so it doesn’t feel repetitive and it’s always interesting – time flies! I have also really enjoyed the customer experience side of the job so far, problem solving, and seeing a happy customer after a job is done successfully.
Something else that I have found really valuable has been the mentorship we’ve been giving as trainees. My mentor is Aimee Holloran, Business Development Manager for Heating at Samsung. I feel really lucky because Aimee is going to be helping me through the whole process and I can talk to her about the content I’m learning and ask her any questions, plus learn from her experience in the industry.
It has also been great to see how much I have done already. I am getting involved in soldering, fitting solar panels on roofs, installing heat pumps, and fitting the sensor, all under the supervision of the YEYW team. We get to share what we have done so far with fellow trainees on the BetaTeach learning platform which is also really useful for our progression. It’s a proud moment when you share something someone else perhaps hasn’t done yet and get to help your fellow trainees.
Why do you think heating engineers/installers should get involved with low carbon technologies, such as heat pumps?
I think at the moment, many people are not aware of the benefits and efficiency of low carbon technologies such as heat pumps. For example, I knew fairly little before I started except that they are much more efficient than a gas boiler. However, as this changes and the population starts to move away from gas boilers, I think we are going to see more and more people wanting to fit heat pumps in their homes and we are going to need installers that understand the technology as demand increases.
Also, I think for anyone like me who has an interest in environmental issues, the technology of the low carbon heating sector such as heat pumps is really fascinating. Being able install these kinds of products means you are part of the UK’s transition to low carbon energy. One of the most useful things I have learnt is how important it is to have a well-insulated home and I’ve found it so interesting doing heat loss calculations and learning how efficient heat pumps are. I think anyone either transitioning across from a traditional skillset, or starting entirely new, would find it extremely rewarding like I have.
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