Research and what we discovered

We knew there was a need for training on our commercial products for our Andrews Water Heaters and Potterton Commercial brands. To ensure we provided training in the format required by our customers, we carried out extensive research:
• To assess the extent to which training impacts brand specification, purchase and installation
• To assess existing attitudes and behaviours in respect of training (for heating and water heaters, CHP, cascades, rigs)
• To evaluate which audiences have the highest propensity to undertake training (their attitudes and behaviour)
• To identify the training needs of different people/professions within M+E specification, purchase and installation (including the importance of accreditation of training to professional bodies e.g. CIBSE)

Our results showed that different aspects of training were more (or less) important to different job roles. Please see supporting evidence for table of results. It was very clear that practical product training was very important to certain job roles.

What we did as a result

Armed with detailed knowledge of attitudes and expectations about the sort of training required, we fitted out our training academy in Warwick with live products and completely tailored the course content to the specific needs of the audience. For example, sessions geared towards contractors are more hands-on and cover practical tips about installation, commissioning and maintenance of key product ranges. There is also bespoke training for distributors which will focus on identifying the correct appliance for their customers’ requirements.

We also introduced an all-new online booking system so customers can browse the available courses, view more information, make a new booking and manage their existing bookings. They will also receive email reminders for upcoming bookings, making it easier than ever to fit learning around a busy schedule, as we found their workload to be one of the biggest barriers to attending training.

Training courses are free of charge and we held an official launch on 12 April 2018.

A typical training session

Training is carried out by Mark Lovegrove, commercial training manager, who ensures all delegates can work safely, and leave with greater confidence to work on our commercial boilers and water heaters. Mark prefers to keep delegate numbers to six or less so that everyone has plenty of attention and time for questions throughout the day.

Following introductions and housekeeping, he provides an overview of current legislation and regulations, followed by an introduction to the product on which they will be working.

• Features and benefits
• Accessories (pumps, cascade kits, flue systems)
• Installation requirements, touching on the relevant legislation (Gas regs and the clean air act).
• System water quality and the installation environment.
• Conversion to LPG
• Commissioning procedures and combustion testing.
• Operation of the boiler controllers commissioning parameters and set up.
• Maintenance requirements and service procedures.
• Access to parameters and fault code recognition.

• Where to find the emergency safety stops.
• Demonstration of basic electrical safety checks.
• Demonstration of appliances and the system they are connected to, including any accessories such as BUS modules and extension modules.
• Boiler strip down and perform an annual service displaying service kits and typical parts that need replacing. (Delegates are encouraged to do the hands-on part in the workshop; however some prefer a step by step demonstration)
• Commission the appliance and set the gas valve using a combustion analyser.
• Enter the boiler controller parameters to check fault history.
• An exercise to wire a boiler to be controlled by a typical Building Management System panel, setting up a 0-10V control and fault and run signals. This is done as a group exercise, using an instruction manual.

The day finishes with a debrief and final Q&A session, then delegates are given certificates.

Results and statistics

Since the Training Academy was launched in April 2018, we have received the following feedback from delegates who completed our feedback forms:

Length of training presentation (% happy)
Andrews Water Heaters 100%
Potterton Commercial 100%

Content of training presentation
Andrews Water Heaters 100%
Potterton Commercial 100%

Hands-on training
Andrews Water Heaters 100%
Potterton Commercial 100%

Would you recommend the course?
Andrews Water Heaters 100%
Potterton Commercial 100%


Paul Hull, director of P R Hull Plumbing & Heating Ltd and founder of Gas Safety Superheroes said: “When it comes to improving gas safety, manufacturer training courses are paramount. It’s not enough just to become accredited and start doing gas work; engineers should make sure they know everything about the products they’re working with. Some may think they don’t have the time to take a day out of work to attend a training course, but it’s a small price to pay to keep customers safe.

“I recently attended one of Potterton Commercial’s training courses as I hadn’t worked with their products for a few years and wanted to get back up to speed. It was really useful; Mark, the trainer, was very knowledgeable and more than happy to answer any questions I had.”


The feedback we have received from delegates has been very good. However, we are not resting on our laurels. Delegates have told us that they require more information about controls, so we are developing a bespoke course on controls to meet this demand. We have also learned some lessons regarding our online booking and have addressed the glitches brought to our attention.

We are also developing our CPD offer; we currently have one CIBSE accredited CPD course that our area sales managers can deliver on site to clients and our research has shown there is clearly a need for this sort of training.

We are passionate about training and ensuring the commercial heating market continues to produce knowledgeable and skilled heating engineers that will provide reliable, energy efficient and good quality commercial heating systems.