The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is now no more, and in its place stand two new departments – the Department for Business and Trade, as well as the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). 

BEIS had a wide remit (as the name suggested) so it is perhaps not unsurprising to see it split into two separate departments. Of the two, the one that is likely to have the most relevance for our industry is DESNZ. According to the initial brief from government when the change was first unveiled, DESNZ will be responsible for “securing our long-term energy supply, bringing down bills, and halving inflation”. It is also tasked with seizing the opportunities of net-zero.

The departmental switcheroo reportedly came out of the blue – which probably isn’t the most effective way to enact a significant and meaningful transition such as this, but that’s politics for you. However, even if there was some scrambling to successfully integrate DESNZ to begin with, it hasn’t delayed the department too long.

At the start of March, DESNZ unveiled a new £5 million Heat Training Grant (HTG) to support 10,000 trainees over the next two years to upskill to work with heat pumps or heat networks.

The HTG will provide heating engineers with grants of up to £500 towards training, which covers most of the cost of a level 3 heat pump course. Plumbers/heating engineers will be able to claim the grant at the point they sign up for training with the provider.

Heating manufacturers offering these courses are also expected to sweeten the deal with additional benefits and discounts to participating trainees – for example, Baxi has pledged to match the £500 government grant with another £500 worth of Baxi Works loyalty points for installers who use the voucher to train and achieve Baxi’s BPEC-accredited qualification.

In my last column, I bemoaned the short-term nature of training incentives being offered, so this is a step forward.