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Pity the HIP trainees left high and dry

The recent news that Connells Group and LSL Property Services have withdrawn funding for their joint venture firm energy-assessors.com is bad news for those hoping for a lucrative ca-reer in Home Information Packs.

And although the announcement was accompanied by confirmation that training for assessors will continue through sister firm propertycareers.com, it’s questionable whether this will be of much comfort for potential inspectors half-way through their training.

Although it’s the emotive issue of the HIP itself that has captured the headlines, it’s the fi-nancial and emotional plight of those positioning themselves to deliver the packs’ requirements that merits the most exposure.

These people have spent thousands of pounds and months of their lives on HIPs, hardly an inconsequential investment. Right now I guess they are wondering whether they might not have been better off selling precipice bonds.

Of course, the European Union Performance and Buildings Directive should ensure that all is not lost. But its delivery requirements, which now seem to be the fallback position for those left high and dry by the HIPs fiasco, are short of what was on the table when many of them decided to train as home inspectors in the first place, particularly in terms of remuneration.

What’s more, with the EU directive’s compliance date still 18 months away, there’s an uphill task ahead to persuade the public to voluntarily embrace this initiative before then.

On this basis, many trainees must be wondering whether there will be any employment opportunities for them between now and then.

To compound the uncertainty, a poll by ConveyanceLink has revealed that 90% of the home owners canvassed were against HIPs – not Energy Performance Certificates admittedly, but the two have become inexorably linked in the public’s mind. So the dilemma facing home in-spector and energy assessor trainees is a worrying one.

We already know that the lack of qualified people has been cited as the principal reason for delaying HIPs until August 1. But if the uncertainty surrounding job opportunities for energy inspectors causes any significant drop in the number of trainees, we may be no better off by then.

Announcements such as that made by Connells Group and LSL Property Services can only add to the concerns felt by those considering whether to cut their losses now and run.

The scale of the fallout from the HIPs debacle has been huge. One can but hope that someone in the government is preparing a debrief to minimise the risk of fiascos like this reoccurring. Once in a lifetime is enough.

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