THE Government is to fund the training of 1,000 "Green Deal" apprentices to install energy-saving measures in homes and businesses.
The Green Deal programme aims to provide insulation and other green technology to millions of homes at no up-front cost to homeowners, who will pay back the companies who carry out the work through savings on their energy bills.
According to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, the Green Deal will support 100,000 jobs within five years, but needs a “big injection of skills and investment” to succeed.
The funding for at least 1,000 apprentices is part of a series of measures, including working with companies to set out standards for installers involved in the Green Deal and encouraging businesses to take on new trainees and boost the skills of their workers.
Ministers hope the measures will help apprentices become experts in installing cavity and solid wall insulation and new energy-efficient heating systems, as well as learning about new green technologies.
The funding will cover the full costs of training apprentices who are 16 to 18 years old, while the Government will share the cost with businesses for apprentices who are 19 and older.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government, which has pledged to be the greenest yet, would reshape the economy and the way the country generates electricity, heats its homes and powers its transport.
“We must put the development of the green economy at the centre of our ambitions to rebalance the economy, he said.
“The Green Deal is about the future and it is important we ensure that future generations have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the green economy.
“These apprenticeships are a perfect example of how Government and business can work together towards a low-carbon future,” he said.
The announcement comes alongside the publication of a carbon action plan which outlines all the measures the Government is implementing to cut emissions and drive forward a low-carbon economy and sets out the deadlines for all the steps departments need to take.
The step has been welcomed by businesses which are already gearing up for the Green Deal, such as British Gas, B&Q and Carillion, which is about to buy Newcastle-based environmental services firm Eaga.
The news comes in the midst of The Journal’s campaign to create 500 apprentices in 100 days, which has signed up 341 trainees in less than six weeks.
The campaign, launched in association with the National Apprenticeship Service and supported by the North East Chamber of Commerce, broke its previous target of 100 apprentices in under three weeks.