SNIPEF lands funding boost to identify challenges around net zero skills

Martyn Raine

THE Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) has announced it has secured funding for research into the way the industry moves towards a net zero society.

The organisation has accessed funding through the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and will act as lead partner on a new project, with The University of Edinburgh and Energy Saving Trust (EST).

The project, called Marketplace Demand and Pathways to Engagement for Net Zero Skills, will explore the challenges businesses face as they embark on the transition to low carbon methods of heating homes and other buildings.

The research will also highlight the role to be played by the plumbing and heating industry, since its operatives have the skills to provide heat decarbonisation services.

Martyn Raine, technical and skills manager at SNIPEF, said, “The Scottish Government has some very ambitious targets, with which we concur. For instance, there is ambition to install 64,000 renewable energy systems throughout 2025, compared to 3,000 per year in Scotland at the moment. This will require a year-on-year doubling of output from the supply chain which will highlight challenges that as an industry we will be required to tackle. The research will allow us to understand the challenges so we can lobby and voice the opinions of our members.

“It is important that the use of properly trained plumbing and heating operatives who have progressed through industry recognised pathways is used to deliver low carbon and renewable energy services. This will allow quality installations to be delivered which, in turn, will create public trust and drive a long-term demand for low carbon and renewable technology to meet net zero targets. As an association, we are in constant communication with government bodies about the complexities of net zero and this research will enable us to offer informed advice backed by the academic rigour of The University of Edinburgh.”

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, added, “New skills will be at the heart of the green energy transformation as Scotland transitions to net zero carbon by 2045, with more than 50% of Scottish homes to be heated through renewable technology by 2030. It is important that, as well as engaging constructively with government and the social housing sector, we can also interact with the private sector, which accounts for 59% of the housing stock in Scotland. There, we can use the information we glean to help build trust in the technology, look at incentivisation and allay concerns about cost.”