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The future looks bright for the next generation of Kimpton innovators

Kimpton Energy Solutions are working on a long-term solution to bridge the shortfall in the number of young people choosing a career in construction.

Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning specialists Kimpton Energy been based in Liverpool City Region since 1963. Their long-standing business culture of innovation meant they were early adopters of renewables, designing and building their first heat pumps in 1970s, playing a key role in the development of the crisp industry by using heat pumps in the stores at Walkers Crisps and Golden Wonder to make the potatoes last longer. 

This long history and culture of innovation has resulted in Kimpton being involved in the development of two UK firsts in renewable technology. With TATA Steel they developed the first Transpired Solar Collectors in the UK, a Canadian renewable technology which pre-heats air for the ventilation system, secondly the designed and installed the UK’s first Water Source Heat Pump in open sea at Plas Newydd, Anglesey for the National Trust.

This innovation is only possible through a solid culture of happy and motivated staff, encouraged to come forward with ideas and create the energy solutions of the future.

With the recent challenges facing the construction and engineering industry in terms of a shortage of people choosing it as a career, there is a shortfall in the next generation of young people entering the industry. The second-generation family business, which always been built on solid values including looking after their team, the environment and the local community, have decided to do something about it.

Kimpton is challenging perceptions to encourage the next generation of innovators from diverse groups of individuals, in particular under-represented groups such as women, to consider a career in the construction industry.

Kimpton’s educational development programme sees the team visit local schools and colleges to deliver workshops highlighting the broad range of careers available in the industry. They also then offer a wide range of work experience opportunities in both office-based and site roles, demonstrating the breadth of careers available, and allowing young people the opportunity to experience these roles, developing a passion early on.

The career talks highlight the varied range of roles available in the construction industry which students may not be aware of – many of which are suffering from a skills shortage and shortage of suitable candidates. From engineers and installers to estimators, , bid managers and bid writers to finance teams , the students leave with a clear and positive impression of the potential a career in the construction industry can provide.

This work has been gratefully received by the education sector who are keen to ensure students have as many options open to them as possible when it comes to careers, and it’s been equally well received by the students themselves, many of whom Kimpton have now signposted to a suitable pathway to commence their journey into a construction industry career.

During the education programme the team discuss the values Kimpton as a business hold, as this is a key motivator for many young people when looking at where they would like to work. Young people say they want to work in for a value-led business who places social value at the heart of what they do, like Kimpton does.

Matt Breakwell, Business Development Manager at Kimpton said

“Not only is this outreach programme in line with the long-standing Kimpton values of being ‘the right thing to do’, but this is helping us mitigate the skills shortage  facing the sector right when we need to be increasing our capacity to deliver heat pumps, solar PV and other renewables If we’re going to recruit enough people the sector needs to deliver the UK’s carbon reduction targets we need to recruit from a much wider section of our community. Many young people are under a preconceived impression of the industry which doesn’t necessary reflect the diverse range of careers and opportunities available not to mention really good salaries! By doing our bit to alter these perceptions, we are attracting the bright young innovators of tomorrow, which allows us to keep growing, providing innovative solutions to our clients and overcome a skills shortage. So, for good  commercial reasons it forms an important part of our social value programme.”

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