The College welcomed its first group of smart meter students to its Stenton Campus in Glenrothes recently where they took part in both practical and theory classes.
The Government led initiative aims to install smart gas and electric meters in most households and commercial premises in the UK by 2020, to help improve energy efficiency throughout the country.
To do this effectively an army of trainee smart meter installers are being recruited by energy suppliers.
A unique college partnership has been set up between Fife College, City of Glasgow College and South Lanarkshire College who are working together to provide industry-led smart meter training to meet the needs of the energy suppliers.
Each technician completes a six week power only installers course with final exam at the end before going out and fitting the meters in homes and business premises throughout Scotland.
Not only is the initiative great news for the environment and for customers who will save on their energy bills, it is also leading to real jobs for hundreds of people, including those recently made redundant or wishing to change career.
The first group of installers, who are employed by Actavo a partner of Scottish Power, enjoyed their first day of training in the College’s specialised workshops.
Craig Douglas (34) from Glasgow was previously a mortgage advisor and decided to change career after being made redundant last year. Said Craig: “This is a great opportunity which is enabling me to learn new skills and qualifications along with a great permanent job.
James Pryde (31) from Clarkmananshire has also previously been made-redundant after working off-shore since he was 16. Said James: “This job came at just the right time for me with the down turn in the oil and gas industry. It’s a reasonable salary and I’m really enjoying being based at home while gaining further training and qualifications which are all funded.”
“Next generation” meters
Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters with intelligent functions that can tell you exactly how much energy you are using through an in home display. They also communicate direct with your energy supplier taking away the need for meters to be manually read or estimated bills creating greater efficiencies all round.
Ron Eldridge, Head of Department at Fife College said: “Fife College is delighted to be involved in such a worthwhile project which is helping to train individuals in this emerging sector.
“Our great facilities, combined with the expertise of our lecturing staff, mean we are fully equipped to meet the needs of our commercial partners such as Actavo. The first group has done exceptionally well and we look forward to welcoming many more groups in the near future.”
Fife College already has plans to train a further five dual fuel groups after the summer as well as five power only groups for companies such as Actavo. The overall project will last for five years and it is hoped that those completing the course will be directly employed by utility companies.
*Information provided by Fife College
Cover image credit: Shutterstock