THIS is National Apprenticeship Week and I am encouraging young learners in Sussex to consider a career in the heating industry.

A report shows a four per cent fall in the number of new apprenticeships started in the South East during 2016/17.

Only 0.2 per cent of all apprenticeships nationally taken up were in the heating sector.

This is despite the launch of a new government scheme to encourage and promote on the job training and a severe skills shortage in the heating sector which is making plenty of jobs available for qualified technicians.

Fuelled by the high costs associated with going to university and the rising cost of living, apprenticeships are increasingly being seen as a highly credible further education option and route into future employment, with more and more students and parents recognising the benefits of hands-on training and experience.

That’s why, as part of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, a nationwide initiative to help young people kick start their careers through apprenticeships, local training centres are highlighting the opportunities a career in the heating industry can bring.

Although building standards and technology are always advancing, people will always need heating and hot water.

There is no shortage of work out there – just not enough professionals to do it.

“Trusted and reliable OFTEC registered heating technicians are always in demand.

Malcolm Farrow is from OFTEC (the Oil Firing Technical Association) which is the trade and marketing body for the oil fired heating and cooking industry