Alnwick firm leads drive for apprentices

Neil Harrison
Neil Harrison

Some of the leading players in the UK’s biomass industry have joined forces to develop a skills standard under the Government’s Apprenticeship Trailblazers programme.

The programme sees groups of employers pool their expertise to develop apprenticeship standards in their own sector with the aim of ensuring young people develop world-class skills to take into industry.

The Biomass Installation Engineer programme will be led by Neil Harrison, founder and director of Alnwick-based re:heat.

Neil is also vice chairman of the Wood Heat Association, the trade body that represents almost 200 biomass businesses, which collectively employ more than 3,500 people.

“The biomass industry is experiencing high growth across the country and we expect demand for this apprenticeship programme to start at 200 in the first year, growing by at least a further 100 annually until we have around 750 participants by 2020,” said Neil. “It is vitally important we ensure the quality of biomass boiler installations if the sector’s potential is to be fully realised.”

Neil and his 10 colleagues from across the sector will work with officials from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop the programme.