Jonny Murton-Lavelle put a call out on social media for any trainees who were about to, or had been through, their Non-Domestic Energy Assessor (NDEA) course and wanted some free ‘on the job’ training.

Travelling regularly around the UK, he hoped to offer some real know-how to those needing a practical learning experience.

“This is missing from training courses,”

Jonny explains.

“Instead, they let candidates work out their own way to collect data, which is no substitute and frankly does them a disservice.

There’s also too much information to disseminate in a classroom. Tutors increasingly give students more hours of home study without spending enough time face-to-face.”

The response – from four trainees who took him up on the offer, and with others around the country also expressing an interest – illustrates the need for shadowing, he adds. Each was given the chance to watch Jonny work, ask questions and conduct their own survey, with time spent afterwards to compare notes and check data.

While the shadowing process can be about finding out whether these trainees are a good fit for Murton & Co – either as employees or sub-contractors – it’s primarily a way to support the sector and highlight the need for improved training and qualifications. Giving up his time has been hugely rewarding and worthwhile, says Jonny, who plans to continue helping more trainees. He’s buoyed by the extremely positive feedback from all those who’ve accompanied him on surveys and agree the experience has grown their confidence.

“I’m genuinely passionate about giving the next generation of Energy Assessors the best start on their career path,”

he adds.

“I hope others will join me to do the same.”

 

Shane Martin, 35, from Harrow

“I wanted a change of career after working for years in security and as a DJ. However, the NDEA course was trickier than I had anticipated as there’s so much to take in. I’d also expected a bit more help, and found it took a while to get a response whenever I asked for an explanation about a task. I jumped at the opportunity to shadow Jonny at a Toolstation retail counter in Kettering, as I hadn’t had any hands-on experience measuring up a property.

“He explained what he would be doing and why – such as his ‘three sweeps’ at a site by going around three times to get all the information – and really put me at ease. I produced the report alongside him, and he was happy to answer any questions, such as why it’s important to take the dimensions of different wall constructions. We then talked for a couple of hours about the numbers and the energy sector. Jonny really cared about what I was doing.

“The experience has given me clarity and structure to my approach – that’s important for me because I’m giving up my livelihood and embarking on a new career so I want to make sure I get all the knowledge I possibly can. I’m so grateful to Jonny and will be speaking to him when I finish the course in August to see if he has any job opportunities!”

Tracey Vaughan, 52, from Barlow in Derbyshire

“I was about to give up and leave the training course when I met Jonny – I was worried that I’d be chucked out into the world not properly prepared. I run a cleaning company where I also do inventories and had signed up so that I could offer more services to clients. But as soon as I started, I had problems with information being sent last minute and not being able to access information on my old laptop. As a result, I spent three lessons not doing anything. After buying a laptop, I started the course again but found that we were taking hours to discuss a screenshot, while the modules are all over the place and I was still confused. It seems we’re taught how not to fail an audit – but that’s not what it should be about.

“Jonny offered to take me round an NHS building he was surveying and explained everything in layman’s terms: how to do a checklist and follow a system of going round a building more than once. I then met him at a level 4 building, where we both did a survey and looked at the systems in a plant room – something we wouldn’t have done on the course. He showed me how to draw better diagrams and how to write my notes and even gave me advice about what equipment and back-up equipment I needed.

“Jonny’s approach was brilliant; he quizzed me to make sure I understood what he was doing so I learned more in those few hours with him then I had in the classroom for three days. I’m so grateful that he took the time to support me. Starting work without this experience would have been very daunting.”

John Browne, 40, from Stoke-on-Trent

“I needed to get one level 3 test and two level 4 test EPCs as the course doesn’t provide us with the properties to survey, so I posted on the NDEA Facebook page, asking to shadow someone – and Jonny responded. We met at a commercial building in Wakefield, and he explained how he goes about conducting a commercial EPC, and I did what he did: created a floor plan, took photos and made notes.

“Jonny talked me through what he was doing and was happy for me to ask questions as we went along. Afterwards, he sent me his output so I could compare mine and correct any areas that were wrong. We also had a couple of meetings on Teams to follow up, where he gave me even more advice – he has loads of industry experience and is a great trainer.

“I’m currently a Domestic Energy Assessor and decided to train as a Non-Domestic Energy Assessor as you can earn more and just do a couple of buildings a day rather than running round 10 houses. Shadowing has been so useful and will definitely help me get the qualification. I think training courses should all offer these shadowing opportunities.”

Jay Morgan, 36, from Harrow

“The course was all so new for me – literally information overload, especially as I’m dyslexic. We were assigned a handler who we were supposed to have contact with on a regular basis, but that hasn’t happened. I also lacked any practical experience as it was all about data entry, so I jumped at the chance to go out with Jonny. I met him at a medical centre near Bath and thought it might take an hour, but he said he could give me three hours and, in the end, we spent the entire day there!

“I met him again at a Toolstation site and shadowed him where he outlined everything he was doing. We didn’t always get explanations about why we were doing certain things on the course, such as taking particular measurements, but Jonny talked me through it. He asked me questions and made me think, for example about the importance of doing research before you arrive on site.

“Seeing how assessments are done from beginning to end has given me a real understanding. I work fitting alarm systems and would like to set up my own assessment company one day, but first I’m really hoping there’s an opportunity for me at Murton & Co. I feel so lucky that I found Jonny and grateful that he gave up his time. I wouldn’t have believed a year ago I would have got this far.”

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