Energy & Utility Skills’ Hydrogen Competence Framework enters new phase of development

The Hydrogen Competence Framework establishes standards for training and assessment which are critical to ensuring a safe and competent workforce in the future.

BEIS appointed Energy & Utility Skills to develop a new Competence Framework for Hydrogen in April 2020. Work is underway on a Training Specification and Assessment Module and this month will see Energy & Utility Skills collaborate with the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) to develop an Interim Technical Standard.

The Hydrogen Competence Framework establishes standards for training and assessment which are critical to ensuring a safe and competent workforce in the future. This is essential to the success of the planned Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023 and the subsequent Hydrogen Town set out in the UK government’s £500 million investment in hydrogen outlined in the recently published 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The Hydrogen Competence Framework was commissioned as part of Hy4Heat’s mission, which is to establish if it is technically possible, safe and convenient to replace natural gas (methane) with hydrogen in residential and commercial buildings and gas appliances. This will enable government to determine whether to proceed to community trial. The Competence Framework will aim to ensure existing Gas Safe registered engineers are appropriately trained and assessed as safe and competent to work on the community trial.

Following extensive industry consultation, the third component of the Competence Framework, an Interim Training Specification provides all potential providers with information on the essential requirements needed to develop and deliver hydrogen transition training, including course content specified as skills, knowledge and understanding, duration and trainer expertise. Development of the fourth element, an Interim Assessment Module, is now underway. Engineers successfully completing it will be certificated as competent in matters of gas safety relating to hydrogen and have an endorsement to that effect added to their Gas Safe registration.

Interim Technical Standard

The gas industry has an established history of safe working, underpinned by a comprehensive suite of Technical Standards, originally derived from first principles and enhanced over many years as materials and work practices have changed. The training of new, or amended procedures and work practices, to be detailed within the Training Specification, must be based upon robust evidence, referenced within a Technical Standard. 

Whilst all gas utilisation standards will eventually need to incorporate the installation of hydrogen systems and appliances, work begins with IGEM this month on an Interim Technical Standard which will incorporate a limited scope of activities identified as safety critical for the community trial.

Ian McCluskey Head of Technical Services & Policy at IGEM commented:

“IGEM is proud to be working with Energy & Utility Skills and the industry to develop new hydrogen Technical Standards for the gas sector. We are committed to helping and supporting the delivery of the evidence base for hydrogen for heating projects and home trials across the UK”

How to Get Involved

The development of the Interim Technical Standard relies upon current research work and test result data derived from early research, experimental studies and controlled tests.

If you think your business holds this valuable information, would like to be involved in the consultation process, or have any other questions about the programme please contact Lucy Ritchie, Senior Client Manager, Energy via email; Lucy.Ritchie@euskills.co.uk .