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Why climate change could make HVAC an attractive career option for the next generation

Why climate change could make HVAC an attractive career option for the next generation

over 2 years ago

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A career in HVAC could soon be one of the coolest options around for school leavers, with future engineers being attracted by the opportunity to make an impact on climate change.

The range of training and job opportunities in green technology, building engineering and net zero industries is increasing rapidly to meet the UK’s decarbonisation goals and early evidence shows that these new roles are proving to have quite an appeal for the next generation of workers.

School leavers and undergraduates are keen to understand how smart buildings, IoT and new approaches such as heating and cooling as a service can change the way we live our lives.

The biggest appeal, according to recent polls of graduate opinion, comes from a sense that by contributing to the smart revolution, new engineers will have a positive impact on climate change.

Actuate UK, an alliance of eight engineering service organisations, said the sector was bouncing back strongly after the pandemic and actively seeking new recruits.

In a statement it said engineering was “at the forefront of efforts to tackle the climate crisis and to improve living and working environments”.

One key indicator of HVAC’s appeal as a career path is the uptake of apprenticeships, including degree level apprenticeships, in the electrical, plumbing, heating, ventilation and refrigeration sectors. Scottish electrical employers' body Select recorded a record intake of 738 apprentices in the first half of this year with long-term job prospects highlighted as a major motivation for apprentices.

Fiona Harper of Select told H&V News earlier this summer that young people are“very aware of the world around them” and accept that renewable energy will replace fossil fuels.

“From electric vehicles and battery storage to heat pumps and the Internet of Things, more youngsters realise that the complexities of modern electrotechnology will put electricians in pole position in the employment market."

The same is true of engineers and programmers, who also have a big role to play.

Helen Yeulet, director of training and skills with BESA, said engineering is at the forefront of the journey towards net zero and that there was a real demand for the skills to ensure safer and greener buildings.

She said engineering offers “rewarding, long-term careers in jobs that rely on the latest digital techniques and innovations like AI. As well as for young people entering the jobs market for the first time, this is also a great opportunity for anyone who might be thinking about changing career direction and looking for an area with an exciting future and brighter prospects."