What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

That the UK having a similar climate to Germany, have delayed a drive in certain policy to meet European carbon reduction targets for persons to become fuel safe until recently. It also highlighted that the UK is generally behind in educating the general population concerning the available technologies and the FIT.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I plan to be a leading on such courses for Lambeth College, as well as take involvement in commissioning installations in the very near future.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

As I am qualified beyond all electrical levels that might have been offered, I would have to say basic electrical.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme: This looked good on paper but in practice there was less practical activity than stated. Consultative planning with persons familiar with UK teaching practice in Gas and electrical courses, could have taken place before the start of this course.

Learning became a little muddled in places. The days were overly long, which generally affected the capacity of some of the apparently more able students to learn more fully, i.e. missing obvious points and constantly going back to previous points, often wasting much time. There should have been exclusion from related units for those who currently hold a UK certificate in any specific area

Preparation: In some parts appeared hap hazard I.e. as if some of the lessons were being created on the spot or the night before. There appeared to be a lack of structure in some places and it was clear more time was needed to bring a good delivery.

Trainers: on the whole were good, with Graham Ancient scoring highly having a good overall knowledge of multiple areas. Subjects were generally well known by lecturers but progress was too often held up by misunderstood concepts appearing to be lost in translation to some of the group..

Workshop materials/ resources: The PV workshop was excellent. The solar thermal demonstration room was well laid out, only to be let down by missing Parts from a solar thermal installation we were to commission. This left me with the feeling that this area has not been properly maintained.

Technical equipment: equipment on the whole was very good, with the PV workshop scoring highly.

How would you like to be involved further (adapting the training, carrying out training, actual installation etc.)?

I will definitely seek to deliver aspects of renewable energy to educate fellow lecturers in the delivery of proposed level 2/3 courses for FE and or wherever this may take me!

I am most interested in the inspection, testing and commissioning of equipment as this is easily transferable with my area of expertise.

Any other comments

I understand there will be problems associated with trying to start a new course or transferring knowledge and skills to the UK. The group at times appeared to differ much in understanding where concepts might have been made clearer by having an initial glossary of terms and all manufactures data presented in English.

For the future it may pay to split the course into 2-levels or an installer/commissioning and specifiers certificate.

Clifford


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Besides all the theory and practice of the renewable technologies covered; understanding the drivers behind their requirement (re the very present and gargantuan issue of climate change) has been by far the most important knowledge to have gained.

It forms the basis and motivational focus for me to push renewables (alongside sufficient insulation) forward into as many homes/premises and ‘lives’ as possible.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

To educate as many interested parties as I come into contact with (re relations, friends, neighbours etc. as well as future and or prospective clients ;0)

**Including any prospect to become a casual trainer in schools and/or adult education centres (voluntary or other)

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

How to measure electronic component values with a multi-meter.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

The provision of an agenda (which subjects on, which days) so as to keep track of progress and to prospectively curb excessive student interjections (as experienced on more that one occasion over the week – that may have been a consequence of miss-understanding translations)

Preparation:

Provision of 2slide per page hand-outs of presentations on or before briefing sessions. Note: viable for ‘concise’ briefings – see below

Trainers:

‘Some’ briefings were regrettably a bit ‘death by vu-foil’ and as such need to be curtailed so as to avoid student shut-down….. (see prep comment above)

Workshop materials/ resources:

A ‘Clamp’ Ammeter (for measuring PV panel short-circuit currents).

An inverter (to complete the PV installation)

Technical equipment:

In-the-field PV test equipment (as demonstrated at Sylvia “Siebert”’s home) re a solar radiation meter and other such systems test equipment.

Herdman


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Solar PV systems – how they work and how to size a system. A very in-depth explanation of the entire process. The second key area was an understanding of U values and how to calculate them. Finally, I had virtually no knowledge of plumbing. I much better understanding of it especially in relation to solar thermal installations.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I will use the knowledge gain to educate the local community on renewable energy. I will also investigate the possibility of developing decentralised district heating systems for local residents.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

I didn’t feel that there were irrelevant experiences. Some aspects of the training was geared towards those with plumbing skills and other areas to those with electrical skills.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme: Would have benefitted from a short practical session (including some basic theory) followed by a more intensive theory session.

Preparation: Documents in English would have helped the learning process.

Trainers: All the trainers were knowledgeable and extremely helpful.

Workshop materials/ resources: More resources would have been useful – especially

testing equipment.

Technical equipment: More hands on with the technical equipment.

How would you like to be involved further (adapting the training, carrying out training, actual installation etc.)?

I have had many years of training in different sections of the education system and would be prepared to assist in restricting the course.

I feel that the trainers on the programme should be brought together at the earliest possible to brainstorm ideas on how the training could be adapted.

Martin


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

For me I had no prior experience of electrics and I found this very useful.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I can directly build on all the knowledge of renewable energy and use this as a solid bases for my future studies. I also had the opportunity of teaching the ecological marketing. Preparing the information for delivering the course cemented the knowledge and gave me a greater understanding of energy.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

It was all relevant and by been here with German installers I got to have a greater understating of how important all aspects of training is.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

This was a pilot scheme and the programme covered everything that is needed to plan and install a PV, Solar thermal scheme except working form hights which would need to be doe in the UK.

Preparation:

Having the German translated for the handouts from our German trainers would be helpful.

Trainers:

Graham is very knowledgeable in his field and I learnt a lot from him. The German trainers were very knowledgeable and helpful in sharing their years of experience.

Workshop materials/ resources:

Technical equipment:

The training facilities are great. It would have been good to have had UK electrical equipment from the UK as it is single phase.

Any other comments

I would like to thank our German hosts for doing such a great job and making us all feel welcome. The training school and staff were all very friendly despite language difficulties.

Fergal


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Approaching this course with an “Open Mind” I’ve personally learnt about the whole holistic approach to renewable energies and their application to specific conditions with their own benefits/limitations. Important technical / feasibility studies are required to maximise the customer’s expectations, based on sound knowledge of the product as an installer. Having attended Logic and Bpec courses prior to this course I am now more comfortable with the subject matter and my understanding has improved considerably.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

Building on the knowledge gained and the intention to complete the outstanding module in 2011. My intention is to develop a business based in the renewable energy market as an approved MCS installer. Marketing renewable energy on sound technical and product knowledge so that customers are provided with a clear and informed solution to their future energy requirements locally sourced and maintained by someone they can trust and recommend to potential customers. The fast pace at which this area is moving will of course mean continued skill upgrading. Part time lecturing of the subject also appeals – giving accurate information to interested parties.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

Struggle to provide any negative feedback on the overall experience and delivery of the syllabus as I personally enjoyed the whole programme both academically and socially. Considerable effort was required prior to the course by everyone involved in the course preparation and this was maintained throughout the delivery of the course by all the lecturing /administration staff (English/German) even when long hours and constant demands by the delegates may have broken the spirit of lesser mortals.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

The intensity of the course programme was a good factor as it constantly kept the delegates focused; The programme content was relevant up to date and delivered professionally. Others may disagree as some delegates have experience of lecturing back in the UK, comments by others need to considered against their own students Known abilities which may vary widely from the course delegates.

Preparation:

Overall the course preparation was excellent. Information provided by the German Lecturers in hand-outs would have been better in English obviously but that’s a given. With hindsight and a greater lead in period for the delegates both textbooks that were used as reference manuals throughout the course ought to be dispatched prior to the course commencing enabling delegates to pre read the course material with the advantage of avoiding basic rudimentary queries .

Trainers:

Both the Old Fart (literally) and the mad Irish Man (Fergal the Rock) provided hours of entertainment well worth a summer season at the end of Hastings Pier. German lecturers were professional and maintained consistent delivery of the course even with the constant translation interface. Provision in the future for additional lecturers for the course delivery would be beneficial in light of Graham’s cold at the course commencement. I take the opportunity to congratulate Fergal on his virgin lecture tour – deserves an honory (in his own words- quite literally A).

Workshop materials/ resources:

Adequate workshop materials/resources were available for the course delivery as a whole; Additional working rigs of thermal and solar installations together with ground source heat pumps would have helped delegates unfamiliar with the systems.

Technical equipment:

Electrical /thermal solar sessions held at the college were good. Visit to Solar world provided an exceptional opportunity to view the solar panel manufacturing process.

Only minor criticism would be that the programmer on the flat panel installation was not working and therefore we were unable to fully commission the installation. Sufficient resources were made available for the number of delegates.

Any other comments

Just like to take the opportunity to congratulate everyone involved with the preparation of the course (Dirk, Graham &Fergal); Timo complemented your efforts at the college.

Really good mixture of delegates from various backgrounds with diverse levels of experiences which contributed to a lively group that worked well as individuals and a team when required.

Accommodation fantastic – real home from home.

Looking forward to February already.

Kelvin


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The very important aspect of calculating the size of panels and the amount of power generated to make the system function and perform to the clients needs , to gain the most from the Feed in Tariffs.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

To help my employer to establish a training centre if possible and to help deliver the new units on Level 3 plumbing courses which will entail renewable energy units.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained? Using already established fixing methods of panels which are similar to industry practice, but it only a minor thing.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:The provision for translating and in particular the more technical terms used may need a translator with a knowledge in that area. The programme may also need more practical input and also more practice in sizing panels and inverters. My type of learning is to be shown more practical methods but that is down to my own personal preference.

Preparation: We will have more understanding of this further down the line when it comes to putting the training into practice. The flights transfers and accommodation were excellent, and the learning centre too.

Trainers: Good experienced people who gave us excellent information and the virtue of their long term knowledge. They have their own businesses also and therefore they have excellent first hand knowledge of installations and design.

Workshop materials/ resources: Very good to get a simulated version of the practical problems that may arise in an installation scenario. The trainers also gave help in this area to show time saving methods and save making costly mistakes.

Technical equipment: Very good resources particularly in the testing equipment, very good roof simulations on the panel installations. The tools were also excellent and the equipment that the trainers brought was very good in particular the bespoke pumping , testing draining machinery.

Any other comments

Thanks for inviting me and I’m delighted to have participated in this course and would be more than happy to continue on this.

Michael


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

It was very good to learn and take it to practice. It is very important to train people properly as health and safety is the most important part. And all installations must be safe for everyone.

It is a very good input for the future in environment and for business.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I have started a business with my partner in renewable energy this year and happy to work on it too.

Any other comments

Thank you very much for this opportunity in taking part of this project. It was a very big experience for my future.

Wayne


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The importance of educating people about what is really happening and what they can do to help by embracing renewable energies. I had a basic understanding of being green; I now understand the complete picture and how important it is to adopt these methods.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

From the start I planned to have a green side to my business both advising and installing renewable energies and I now have the knowledge to do this. My clients will be better informed about how to make energy savings.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

PV but purely because I’m not electrically qualified. Everything was relevant!

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

I honestly thought the programme was spot on. I thought it would be purely learning about designing and installing solar. I really like the fact it covered ecology, energy, pollution etc. This really gave meaning to the technologies we learnt about.

Preparation:

In the future when the scheme is in place everything will be prepared in advance I would imagine. Preparation over the last 4 weeks was good; improvements could have been made to some of the test we sat, as some were very confusing at times. On a few occasions we wasted time in the morning waiting for photocopies etc

Trainers:

Brilliant! To have four trainers that are so passionate about the areas they teach really works well. In the past I have been taught by people that teach because it’s a job. I think it is so important for the future of the programmes to have tutors with the passion that we have experienced this month.

Workshop materials/ resources:

I would have like to have been set more scenarios so that I could apply the knowledge learnt to dummy situations.

Workshops could have been improved; I would have liked to have installed a complete installation from start to finish, not just placing panels on fake roofs.

More fault finding and maintenance too would have been helpful.

Any other comments

Being away from home/distractions helped with the studying immensely. I’m not sure how possible this would be back home to keep everyone together during the week returning at weekends – I don’t know but I think it would definitely help.

I would value advice on where to go next, how to get involved in renewables, career advice etc.

Having the Solar books before arriving so we could have a little swat up before.

Lastly I would like to say a big thanks for the last 4 weeks, it has been a fantastic month and I have learnt so much, I hope I’m able to come back for the last 2 weeks of the qualification, if so can I request early Feb as my wife is expecting our first child towards the end of March.

All the best and please get in touch in the future.

Sam


What was the most important/ relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

The Solar Thermal theory and practical experience.

How will you use the experiences/ knowledge?

I intend to work within the renewable energy industry as an installer, aiming for MCS accreditation primarily for Solar Thermal, but eventually for PV and Heat Pumps.

The experience I have gained has undoubtedly provided an understanding of the range of renewable technologies, which will enable me to provide informed advice to customers.

What were the least relevant experiences/ knowledge you gained?

I believe that all the experiences were relevant. Even though I am a plumber, I will still use the Solar PV training when talking to and informing customers on renewable energy options.

What areas of the training could be improved, and how?

Programme:

There was a mix of theory and practical although the balance was very skewed towards the theory. I would have liked more time in the workshop.

A well structured series of theory and practical lessons (Scheme of Work) could be developed. The theory and practical sessions need to compliment each other in order to reinforce the learning.

All sessions need have clear objectives for learning in order for the learning to flow from session to session. This is important when time is limited. Less structured learning sessions could still be scheduled into the programme.

Preparation:

A pre course reading list or material could be provided. Especially in the plumbing / electrical principles and theory.

Trainers: We were very lucky to have a series of trainers, each with a vast experience in the field. I would hope that future trainees are guaranteed trainers with a minimum amount of practical experience.

Despite our hard working translators there were at times obvious language difficulties which resulted in some things being “lost in translation”. This might be reduced with further preparation for translators in the technical language used. This may still be a consideration once the course is transferred to the UK, if European experts are used.

Any other comments

This was a fantastic course and experience overall and I am very happy to have been involved in this pilot course. I am interested in being involved in further development of the project and any other relevant work Embrace is planning for the future, if required.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in bringing this project to life.

Sincerely,

Will

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