‘GO EARLY’ GREEN DEAL ADVISOR TRAINING
Comments from DEA Taylor Boutin
I undertook my GDA training through Group Horizon who are in partnership with Gateshead college and are the training provider through various colleges throughout the county. They have taken me under their wing to further develop my skills, and I will be delivering training for them and I am assessing their learners.
The GDA training I undertook was in the very beginning, and it was gruelling to say the least. In the span of five days I had an open book exam, closed book exam, oral role play and an on line exam. Then I had to prepare a portfolio and provide three GDA reports. At the time, there was no functional software so I think this was a good thing as I had to really analyze the EPC along with the occupancy report to create a mock GDAR. I felt very competent and I feel that was due to the support the trainers gave all of us whilst we were away with our portfolios. Additionally the pool of trainers delivering the course had extensive industry knowledge and experience. Several of them work for ECMK and the likes. Now for me to qualify to take the course I had to already be a qualified “active!” DEA. I am currently training to become a trainer to deliver DEA and GDA training. Additionally I have nearly completed my CAVA (Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement) qualification and am currently assessing learners’ portfolios.
I have now undertaken a good 50+ Green Deal Occupancy Assessments. There are still some teething problems with the software that I have identified and these are now being looked at. An example is if you want new double glazing as the DG you have has broken down. I firstly survey your property for the EPC, I input the data as the property is 100% double glazed pre 2002 as that is the only option available on the software. Double Glazing is a Green Deal Product. Then I undertake the occupancy assessment and I bring the completed EPC software to link to the GD software.
There is a section labelled “Scenario” where improvement measures can be input. When you get to the double glazing the software has already ticked ‘double glazing appropriate’ and you cannot change it. The long and short of it is that the GDAR will not make the recommendation for DG. Now if the property has one single glazed window, the recommendation will trigger. The only way this will ever work is if the scenario will allow you to change this or if the EPC allows an option for a “condition” or de-valuation of the DG. Then the problem is that a DEA is collecting data and they would have to now make a decision on a condition of the DG?
I know, as I have seen first-hand, that there are some very poor quality training courses and training providers as I have seen the work, however I am not at liberty to say where. In my opinion what is happening is these providers are trying to train the candidates as DEAs and GDAs in too few hours. The reason they are doing this is that they cannot charge enough for the courses so it has become a numbers game.
If ABBE and City & Guilds would get their heads together they need to change the training requirements. These learners need more classroom time as three to five days is not enough. They struggle to understand RdSAP and the data collection process, and have much difficulty in producing an accurate EPC. Realistically there needs to be a “set” amount of mandatory classroom hours. Honestly, for the DEA training I feel they should have at least ten to fifteen days classroom time. Once they are confident as a DEA then another five days for GD training. If this became the industry standard the training fees would all fall in line and you would not have these one day offers of £300.00 to become a DEA. There are a few of these kicking around, and from what I have heard they do the majority of the work and portfolio for the candidate.
These “economy” classes are not doing the learners any favours, as you and I know after a couple of audits they will be suspended. Now unfortunately these learners have taken a position with a firm and will lose their job.
The Green Deal is great as an economy booster, and is creating a lot of jobs. They need to iron out the wrinkles and make this a quality programme, as it will be able to help so many people in many various ways.