A pioneering scheme that aimed to provide the unemployed with training on energy efficiency has been described as a success by National Energy Action (NEA), which worked on the project alongside energy supplier E.ON.
The Community Energy Fit (CEF) scheme ran for 18 months before coming to an end on Wednesday. The project provided free tuition on energy efficiency and fuel poverty for hundreds of unemployed people in the UK.
One aim of the scheme was to improve the employability of young people in England and Wales, where unemployment has risen in recent years. NEA, a national charity focused on addressing fuel poverty in Britain, expects many people who benefited from the scheme to embark on careers in the renewable energy sector.
In total, the basic course on energy efficiency was completed by over 700 people, of whom around 30 per cent subsequently obtained the Energy Awareness City and Guilds qualification, which was devised by NEA. Approved by the Code of Practice for Energy Efficiency Advice, the NVQ aims to educate students on issues such as the safe and efficient use of central heating systems, methods of paying gas and electricity bills and improving the energy efficiency of domestic properties.
Such was the sense of accomplishment created among participants, many chose to become Community Energy Champions, who volunteer at local events to increase public awareness of fuel poverty and energy efficiency. NEA and E.ON believe the scheme also improved the employment prospects of many people, who gained practical experience and proved their ability to learn a new skill.
E.ON’s Suzanne Doxey said: “This project set out to help unemployed people to improve their employment prospects and also to advise the local community, particularly those who are suffering from fuel poverty”.
Ms Doxey added: “It’s important that we continue to explain to people about energy efficiency. Switching to the best tariff for them and implementing simple energy saving tips at home will ensure that no hard-earned cash is wasted unnecessarily”.
Energy users in the UK can reduce their expenditure on gas and electricity by installing double glazing and cavity wall and loft insulation. Replacing old, inefficient boilers with new condensing models can also result in savings, as can making a concerted effort to conserve energy.