Renewable energy firm UFW has launched a new state-of-the-art BPEC training centre at its Leicester base.

The training facility offers BPEC industry qualifications in a range of green energy technologies such as Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps and Solar Thermal.

UFW is also running a BPEC certified Renewables Awareness course for anyone wanting an introduction to microgeneration technologies, the principles of operation, potential costs and payback periods.

Managing director Nigel Parkes said: "This is a great opportunity for installers across the region to develop their business and skills in a fast growing industry.”

UFW has invested £40,000 in developing and equipping the centre with the latest microgeneration technology on the market, giving trades people the opportunity to gain hands on, practical experience.

"To fulfil its purposes of delivering 'oven ready' installers who can go straight into the market, it was essential that this was a hands-on programme. People on the course will have direct access to the technologies and will be able to handle the systems, de-construct them and put them back together. This way they will fully understand the practical as well as theoretical side of renewable energy system installations," Parkes added.

BPEC certified trainers have been recruited to run the courses, which take place over two or three days and are suitable for qualified plumbers, heating engineers and electricians.

Further courses available for installers and trade specialists include Water Regulations, Part L and Unvented Hot Water Systems.

UFW is one of the UK's biggest trade merchants in the green energy industry, working with many of the world's top brands to supply a range of renewable energy technologies. The company also specifies, designs and installs green energy systems across the domestic, commercial and agricultural sectors.

"Training is essential for the green energy industry and despite the recession, and the significant issues with government incentive schemes, we still believe that renewable technology is the way forward for meeting UK energy needs,” said Parkes.

“We have had a lot of interest and are offering courses each week for the next three months and are already planning for the rest of 2012. The aim is to bring more than 700 people each year through the centre.”

UFW's Leicester HQ is also home to a 2,000 sq ft permanent exhibition centre for specifiers, installers and property owners to visit, with a variety of leading HVAC brands - such as Kingspan, NIBE and Stiebel Eltron - displaying their most popular and up to date products. Technologies available include heat pumps, solar PV and thermal, underfloor heating, rainwater harvesting, biomass heating and plumbing systems.

The idea is to give a permanent display demonstrating how all renewable energies link together and give customers the opportunity to view the product prior to purchase or specification.