Heating firms join forces to launch Scotland's first community-focused energy training academy

Two Scots heating firms are to launch the country’s first community-focused energy training academy.

The ground-breaking project will be modelled on a social enterprise, and is an extension of a recently-agreed partnership between the Edinburgh Boiler Company (EBC) and HeatFix Scotland in

the Capital, whose engineers cover Falkirk, the Borders, West Lothian and East Lothian.

The academy will produce the apprentices of tomorrow by putting youngsters on a pathway to employment by delivering a range of educational training programmes, including the Scottish government’s No One Left Behind initiative.

Mark Glasgow and HeatFix Scotland managing director Andrew Lamond (L)

It will also provide facilities for more established engineers looking to upskill.

The 12,000 sq. ft. centre is being built over two floors, with a projected opening before the end of the year.

It will host three state-of-the-art lecture rooms each accommodating up to 15 students, interactive training areas for renewables featuring heat pumps and solar energy as well as an open floor area with multiple ‘live’ boilers on the wall connected to hot and cold water supplies as well as radiators and gas meters.

There will also be a dedicated space for gas engineers to sit their Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) exams, with an additional four bays replicating a home environment with boilers, gas fires, underfloor piping and attic space to allow practical training.

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Funding applications have already been submitted to Investing In Communities Fund and the Boost It Fund via FirstPort, with others in the pipeline. It’s also planned to open dialogue with potential

investors.

EBC managing director Mark Glasgow had originally planned his own energy training centre at the firm’s headquarters but, along with HeatFix Scotland MD Andrew Lamond, the two businessmen saw the potential for a much larger facility as part of their collaboration.

Located just 200 yards from EBC’s current base in Dalkeith, the academy will see the two enterprises combine their resources to open the doors to high school pupils from fourth year onwards.

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Inspiration for involving the community came from Mark’s own upbringing in the city.

“It was tough growing up where I lived in Niddrie in Edinburgh and a lot of young people found it difficult to get into employment,” he said.

“I appreciate I have been quite fortunate in business and that is something I have never taken for granted. Providing opportunities for the youth of Scotland is a big motivation for me to get the academy established and I truly believe we can make a huge impact on young people’s lives.

“Too many young kids, for any number of reasons, are missing out on opportunities to start a career but we want to address that by promoting employability."

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With capacity to hold 60 full-time courses and 40 part-time courses annually, the academy could see 100 new engineers attain the necessary qualifications each year.

Andrew said: “There are other gas training centres in Scotland but none of them will operate as a social enterprise like we will. The profits will be reinvested back into the community allowing us to offer more free

programmes.

“Not only will we create opportunities for people but it will also help reduce carbon emissions. The more people who are employed in the renewables industry, the greater the awareness of energy

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efficiency and how to save money.”