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GDA Training ‘going well’ but software unfinished

Training of ‘go early’ Green Deal assessors is going well despite some teething troubles, according to the organisation overseeing the training process, but assessors are reporting that the GDA software is still not completed, complicating training courses.

Asset Skills, the sector skills council for housing, property and planning, expects the first GDAs to be trained by October, when Green Deal is due to launch, and all of them should be trained by the end of the year.

Green Deal Advisor Training organisations might have struggled if the Green Deal was going live on 1 October, as originally planned, but the Department of Energy and Climate Change made clear some time ago that October would see a ‘soft launch’, and the scheme would not really get going until January 2013.

Training for commercial GDAs is lagging some way behind, but Phil Stott of Asset Skills said he was hoping commercial training would commence in October, and was scheduled to be completed two months after domestic training. He said ABBE had produced the handbook for its commercial course last week.

‘I definitely feel it is going very well, and feedback I have been seeing is excellent,’ said Mr Stott. ‘There has been a good quality turnout and people are working very hard to get their qualifications.’

Reactions heard by EAM suggest that accreditation bodies are receiving the best feedback. Some college-run courses are not commencing until September, when staff return after the summer break, and a college in South Wales was required by Asset Skills to take action to improve its course, following complaints from the first training group.

‘Their course wasn’t quite ready,’ said Mr Stott, ‘but we took action very quickly when we identified the risk.’

One college which has been open for business is Gateshead College, where DEA Taylor Boutin was one of the eight people on the first five-day course, earlier this month.
He was very impressed with the quality of the course and the training, but said ‘problems with the software were the biggest challenge.

‘The lecturer was very skilled, and the facilities are excellent, but the software is just not ready. When you complete the manual use calculations and put them into the software it is supposed to change, but it doesn’t. That part of the software isn’t finished yet.’

Having chosen to take time off work to try to complete his portfolio of three case studies by the date of the final examination, two weeks after his course, he was dismayed to discover this problem, and with less than 48 hours to his self-imposed deadline, lecturers rushed out a new set of calculations which would work with the software.

Taylor said he didn’t feel the software would cause problems when it was completed, and he was optimistic about work prospects and the effect he believed Green Deal would have.
‘This is going to change people’s lives,’ he said. ‘Especially older people who need help to get their homes warmer at reasonable cost.’

Asset Skills is optimistic that the GDSap software for domestic GDAs will be completed in time to be used for assessments, but a promised statement on the issue has not been received yet.

Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine

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