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CONCERNS OVER UK RENEWABLE ENERGY SKILLS SHORTAGE

Organisations Seek Targeted Courses to Become More Competitive and Improve Renewable Energy Skills

Bespoke training for staff sets companies apart from the competition. More people than ever in the UK are deciding to insulate themselves from future rises in fossil fuel prices by installing renewable energy devices. Although this sounds like great news for the renewable energy sector as a whole, there exists fierce competition between firms working in what is a relatively young industry compared with conventional power. British companies wanting to flourish must constantly improve and tailor their staff training programmes say leading renewable energy providers.

Despite a Government report in 2011 which highlighted a latent demand for skills in renewable energy it seems that forward thinking large, medium and small organisations such as Honeywell, Coca Cola, Mitsubishi, Solar Power Scotland, Glendevon Energy and the British Army are choosing to commission industry and academic experts to provide bespoke in-house training. Paolo Buoni, a Director of the European Energy Centre (EEC), which has provided this type of training in renewable energy for nearly 40 years and cooperated with the United Nations Environment Programme for over a decade. “The renewable energy market has become progressively complex in recent years and due to the varied nature of the services these companies provide, we sometimes find that generic training is not enough anymore” said Paolo, who is finding that more and more organisations request bespoke packages over generic programmes. “Bespoke training in relevant legislation, technical expertise and policies is the best way to avoid clients ending up with the wrong product.”

“We work with the United Nations Environment Programme, and R&D experts from leading British Universities to offer a level of training that you will not find from mainstream organisations. Once trained by us, these companies can display the EEC logo which serves as a stamp of approval for clients”.

Jamie Adams is Sales Director of Glendevon Energy, a renewable energy installation company that has been operating for six years. “Bespoke training is giving us a competitive advantage because it allows our staff to become experts in our own field of work,” he continued “I recently contracted the European Energy Centre to bring all of our staff up to date on the latest solar power technology and relevant legislation, with a strong focus on our own products, to make the course as useful as possible for our employees. It means that our sales team can now provide a cutting edge service to potential clients. It’s a long term investment and it’s worth it.”

In-house, bespoke training can also carry time and cost savings for companies wanting to improve their team’s knowledge base. “Our staff need to stay on top of fast-paced developments in pricing and functionality of renewable technologies, but some standard courses which run for three days contain a lot of basic information that we already know,” said Adams. “By working with the European Energy Centre to design our in-house training we’ve whittled sessions for staff down to one day which saves on time and travel costs”.

Gordon Robertston is Sales Director of Solar Power Scotland, which employs over 100 staff to provide Photovoltaic and Thermal Solar Power systems. “Our rapidly-expanding customer-facing team must have the latest knowledge of solar powered products and legislation at their fingertips,”explained Roberston, “Regular tailored staff training is the only way that we can remain Scotland’s leading provider of solar powered products and ensure that customers are matched with a solution that meets their needs.”

The EEC in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme will also be presenting the latest advances in renewable energy at their 15th European Conferences in Edinburgh and throughout Europe in 2012 and 2013. To find out more about the training they provide go to www.EUenergycentre.org , email training@EUenergycentre.org

To organise bespoke training in renewable energy organisations can contact the EEC, training@EUenergycentre.org or call 0131 4469 479