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Bootcamps and upskilling in the new Retrofit Skills Lab

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A series of new renewable energy training programmes launch at Telford College in the new year to bring electricians up to date with the latest solar and battery power technology, electric vehicle charging and industry regulations.

Four short programmes will be running in the college’s newly-equipped Retrofit Skills Lab at the Wellington campus, which has been kitted out with battery storage units, solar power systems and electric car charging points.

A two-week ‘Bootcamp’ is also available covering solar power, battery storage, electric vehicle charging, plus an introduction to environmental technologies, and mental health awareness.

The Bootcamp is co-funded by employers, and is only open to current electricians who live, work or have contracts in the West Midlands.

The qualifications are all aimed at upskilling existing and working electricians, and will be running throughout 2024.

For more details, contact the employability team at Telford College,

Luke Foster has been an electrician for more than 20 years, and is now Telford College’s environmental and sustainability sector specialist lecturer.

He has worked on a range of large projects including the world’s first Ray-ban eyewear store in London’s Covent Garden, the 2012 Olympics, and jobs at major international airports.

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Tutor Luke Foster in the Retrofit Skills Lab

“I tell students there is a big world of work out there, not just in the Telford area or indeed in Britain. Skills like this can take you all around the world, if that’s what you want to do.

“There is a huge shortage at the moment of people who are qualified to install solar systems. Installing solar panels onto people’s homes so they can produce their own electricity is definitely the way many people want to go forward.

“The battery storage systems and inverters we have here are really intelligent pieces of equipment – and we are only really just scratching the surface with what it can achieve.”

He added: “We teach people how to do what’s called an array calculation for how many solar panels can be mounted onto a roof, we teach them how to install electric car charging points and all of the implications it can have on an existing installation, and we teach how battery storage and inverters work.”

To qualify for three of the programmes, electricians need to have completed their 18th Edition Wiring Regulations – but we are also offering an 18th edition regulations qualification for those who are not yet up to date.

Luke said: “Our solar photovoltaic systems programme for small-scale installations runs for three days, the electric vehicle charging point programme is two days, and the electrical energy storage programme for battery storage runs for two days. The 18th edition programmes run for three days, with a one-day refresher.

“It means that you could come out of Telford College within 10 study days with your 18th edition, plus qualifications in electrical vehicle charging, small-scale solar and electrical energy storage.

“Green technology is creating so many employment opportunities. A lot of construction jobs now require knowledge about what green technologies can be installed, and how it can help to save energy within the home.

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Luke with students Louisa Elcocks and Kieran Dale

“These courses will give you a very good understanding of how you can achieve energy efficiency.

“Electricians will get to discover how it can work for customers, what power can feed back into the grid, and feel confident advising on or installing these systems.

“Charging equipment has moved on so much over the past couple of years. One charger can literally talk to another piece, or an electrical energy storage system; it’s really intelligent. There is a big demand for people to get skilled in the green energy sector, and associated technologies.”