The government has announced £3.5 million in funding to help train hundreds of people in key green skills ahead of the launch of the Green Deal.

The Green Deal is the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme aimed at renovating millions of draughty, energy-inefficient homes and office buildings across the UK. This scheme will begin later this year and will support an estimated 65,000 jobs by 2015.

The government says trained, skilled professionals in assessing home energy efficiency and installing insulation are crucial for getting the Green Deal off the ground, and that 'today’s money for training will go a long way to help the UK prepare for the launch'.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has been working closely with the Green Deal Skills Alliance to ensure support goes where it is most needed. DECC is putting forward £3 million and one of the leading partners in the Alliance, CITB-ConstructionSkills, will provide a further £500,000 towards the training of insulation installers.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “This money will help hundreds of people gear up for the Green Deal and ensure this scheme is a real success on the ground. We have worked hand in hand with industry to get this right and are targeting funding at the areas where there is an urgent need as well as a clear demand. We hope this will encourage businesses across the country to fully prepare their staff for the launch of the Green Deal later this year.”

CITB-ConstructionSkills chief executive officer Mark Farrar said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant step towards preparing the construction industry for the government’s flagship efficiency scheme. Training shortfalls have been identified as one of the main barriers to the success of the scheme.

"We have invested funds to tackle training shortages and unlock commercial opportunities for SMEs and we welcome DECC’s commitment to skills and training by doing the same thing. We are now calling on employers and the supply chain to also invest in sustainable skills training for their workforce, so they too can capitalise on the Green Deal.”

In addition, DECC is also funding a £10 million competition to be launched in early May to support the incorporation of innovative technologies which can achieve significant energy savings in existing non-domestic buildings. Non-domestic buildings, such as schools, shops, offices, hotels, are associated with 18% of the UK’s total carbon emissions so reducing energy demand in this sector will help the country meet its climate targets.

Dr Scott Steedman, director (designate) of standards at BSI said: “BSI’s Green Deal Installation Standard, PAS 2030 not only provides installers with the ability to demonstrate their competence, but is designed to provide assurance for the public that the quality of work will be at the appropriate level. We were delighted to have worked with DECC in delivering the first Green Deal standard which will help encourage adoption of the scheme and the best possible result for the UK with this energy efficiency initiative.”

The British Standards Institute (BSI) recently launched a new PAS 2030 standard for all installers. PAS2030 has been co-developed between DECC and industry representatives to ensure robust and deliverable standards as well as peace of mind and protection for consumers. Details of PAS2030 and how to get certified are available on the BSI website

The new training will be administered by the Sector Skills Councils on behalf of the Green Deal Alliance. This group is made up of several existing skills groups – Construction Skills, Asset Skills, Summit Skills.

Further details of the installer training will be available shortly on the CITB-ConstructionSkills website