2013-10-02   facebook twitter rss

New Training Programme Offers Woodfuel Producers a Bright Future

A new European training programme has been launched which, in the UK, will help woodfuel producers meet the anticipated boom in demand created by the Renewable Heat Incentive.

The Wood Energy Training programme was developed by SAC Consulting (a Division of SRUC) and training provider Rural Development Initiatives Ltd (RDI) with partners in France, Estonia, Turkey, Finland and Austria. Aimed at those working in woodfuel production or running a woodfuel business, the programme’s 50 trainers across Europe will teach key skills required for producing high quality woodchip or firewood.

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Explaining the benefit of the programme to the UK woodfuel sector, SAC Consulting’s John Farquhar said:
“It is widely recognised that the increasing uptake of the Renewable Heat Incentive will result in an increased demand for woodfuel products. If this demand is going to be met, and the UK is to have successful, smooth running woodfuel installations, it is critical that high quality woodfuel is available and that operators understand how to produce quality fuel.”

The programme’s content draws on the experience and expertise of countries like Finland and Austria which already have mature woodfuel supply chains.

Will Richardson of RDI said: “As we have developed the programme, we have learned from countries with vastly more experience of woodfuel. This has allowed us to develop an in-depth training course which will equip learners with practical information and tools so they have the skills and confidence to produce high quality and economically viable woodfuel. ”

Will explained that the programme’s launch is assisting in the development of new National Occupation Standards (NOS) for woodfuel. He said:
“The NOS process is an essential step for any training programme in the UK in order for it to be recognised by further and higher education bodies and vocational awarding bodies such as Lantra or City and Guilds. The fact that we have already developed a training programme to go alongside these standards means that as soon as the new NOS is agreed, there will be no delay in ensuring people can be trained to the new standards.”

The programme’s development was funded by the EU Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation fund. Those signing up for the course will undertake more than 60 hours of guided learning, which can be taken in modular format or as part of existing land-based qualifications.

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