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Plumbing and Heating tutor Lewis LitherlandAs the demand for renewable energy rises globally, the national skills shortage for green jobs becomes ever more prevalent.

To help meet rising demands and achieve ambitious government targets of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, there is a need for green skilled heating engineers, and our Renewable Energy Lecturer, Lewis, is leading the way to ensure our students are at the forefront!

Lewis first made the leap into teaching in 2020, when he joined us as a Gas Lecturer. Having worked as a Technical Service and Repairs Engineer for British Gas since he was 17, Lewis says pushing himself out of his comfort zone from industry into teaching was the “best decision he has made for his career”.

Lewis explained: “I will always remember the first lesson I taught alone - it was more nerve-racking than fixing any boiler or dealing with any customer complaint on the tools, but when I saw the student’s notebooks full of notes featuring things that I had taught them, diagrams of systems, tips on how to fix problems that I had faced in my career, I realised that the shy, quiet gas engineer was suddenly now a confident teacher, and I haven’t looked back since!”

Before joining the College in 2020, Lewis left his role at British Gas to start an exciting new chapter in Australia. However, due to the climate, there wasn’t a great demand for Gas Heating Engineers, so he turned his hand to air conditioning, where his discovery of renewable heat first began.

In 2021, an opportunity became available for plumbing and heating department at College to undertake an air source heat pump qualification, where Lewis says he “jumped at the chance”.

This marked the start of his leap from gas into renewables and has since seen Lewis’ role evolve from a Gas Lecturer to our new Renewable Energy Lecturer, seeing him become one of the key driving forces behind the College’s move towards green skills!

Plumbing student with tutorsSince then, Lewis has been involved with the development of our brand-new £500k Green Energy Skills Centre and has helped shape an ambitious and pioneering curriculum that will allow existing heating engineers to competently design, install and commission air source heat pump systems.

Lewis has also partnered with staff in our wider construction department on an exciting new project at the new centre, seeing the construction of a ‘Renewable Training Home’. This replica home, sponsored by employer partner, Ideal Heating, will feature a range of energy-saving and low-carbon appliances, materials and building methods including Ideal Heating's Logic Air heat pump and hot water cylinder, which will be the focal point for renewable energy training at the College. 

Lewis commented: “It has been a pleasure working alongside colleagues from across the trades to create this space, but to also hear their own plans to introduce green technologies within their own industries.”

As part of the build, Lewis is keen to encourage industry involvement wherever possible and has seen fantastic support so far from many leading manufacturers and businesses such as Ideal Heating, PolyPipe, Intatec, Primary Pro, DiscreteHeat and Heat Engineer Software, who have kindly donated materials and offered training support and opportunities for our staff and students.

Looking to the future, Lewis adds: “My goal for the Green Energy Skills Centre is to become the number one training hub for heating engineers in the UK. I am very passionate about creating a centre like this in St Helens as I’ve come from a similar economic background as many of our students, and I have been fortunate enough to have fallen into an industry that has provided me with great opportunities. So, if I can play a hand in providing this for more young people in a similar position, it would be a great personal achievement for me!”

Read more about our new Green Energy Skills Centre here.

Lewis Litherland 3 Article