Bridging the skills gap


01 August 2018
heat pump installer training germany
Installers at the Stiebel Eltron Energy Campus in Germany
heat pump installer training germany
Mark McManus
Mark McManus, Managing Director of Stiebel Eltron UK, discusses installer training, bridging the skills gap and the importance of collaboration between manufacturers and installers.

Considering the complexity of the supply chain in the heating and renewables sector, from manufacturing to the end-user, keeping all facets running smoothly is vital to maintaining customer satisfaction and a reputation for quality. To achieve this, a key consideration must be the implementation of high quality and cutting edge internal training for staff as well as tailored sessions with the installers that fit products into homes and businesses.
The skills gap faced by the industry is an issue that has seen much publicity in recent years, and it is something that we must collectively look to build a solution for, especially with a further 1.8 million technically qualified people needed for the sector by 2025 according to Engineering UK. However, equally important to inspiring the next generation of industry experts, is retaining those installers with the talent to drive the sector forward and continually improving their technical knowledge.

Installers are the lifeblood of the sector and the main point of contact for many customers that are making a purchasing decision, making them to some extent an extension of the image of the product or system manufacturer. Working across such a wide-range of products – and with vastly different specifications from various manufacturers – provides challenges. It means that regular updates and knowledge sharing is invaluable in ensuring that not only are your installers familiar with the very latest product lines in stock, but also their specifications and requirements for installation.

At Stiebel Eltron we have taken a unique approach to this, finding several solutions that have strengthened the brand and our relationship with installer partners, and resulting in customers that are happy with both the product and an efficient installation process.

Our solution is two-fold: one incorporating a local approach, and another that takes our installation partners further afield to the cutting-edge Stiebel Eltron Energy Campus in Holzminden, Germany.

We believe that by not only arming installers with an in-depth knowledge of our products, but also inspiring them with the innovative technology on display, we can simultaneously change perceptions of the sector to those that are looking to join it, and help our existing teams develop their knowledge to become industry-leaders.

The Stiebel Eltron UK headquarters in Bromborough, Wirral, gives installers their first experience of the product line. Our training centre has played host to regular roadshows in which installer partners are invited to find out more about the technology behind the brand, both through seminars with the senior leadership team and live product demonstrations.

This experience is developed as installers gain familiarity with Stiebel Eltron’s range of products and their capabilities with a visit to the Energy Campus in Holzminden.

The campus is the flagship of Stiebel Eltron’s commitment to sustainability and innovation and the hub of the company’s collective expertise. The trip allows installers to experience the technology that is driving major breakthroughs in the industry and to test its various implementations.

Training sessions held at the centre are built around four themes: heat pumps, hot water systems, ventilation and the assembly centre; this provides a comprehensive and interactive overview of the Stiebel Eltron offering at an immersive and inspirational venue.  

Tom Clark of Green Flare joined the team on a trip to Holzminden and had this to say about the experience:

“I had been working with Stiebel Eltron as an installation partner for around a year when I was offered the opportunity to attend a trip to the Energy Campus – in the first instance a fantastic demonstration of Stiebel’s commitment to the working relationship we had developed.

“The facility is totally unmatched in the UK with live units that provide the perfect demonstration of the benefits that the products offer to end-users. As an installer, it is refreshing to see the performance of the products in action and the benchmarks that they can achieve, as it is often customers that are the only ones to experience this. It really demonstrates the confidence that Stiebel Eltron has in the products they are providing. 

“The instructors communicated the technical details of the product range in an easily digestible way, and on top of that the trip provided an ideal opportunity to share expertise and gain tips from fellow installers and build a real team spirit amongst all those attending.
“I’ve also found that the trip gave insights into the array of design tools on offer from Stiebel, which have all contributed to make the installation process run smoothly for my customers.”
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