James Booth started PPL Training in 2005 when he saw a gap in the market for training for tradespeople during the housing boom.

It still trains individual customers and employees of large firms, such as Travis Perkins, in plumbing, electrics and other mechanical and engineering jobs.

But the big opportunity for the company has been its quick diversification into renewable energies.

In 2006, ahead of the game, the business started to offer training to install renewable energies, such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

As one of the first providers to move into the sphere, it has trained 22 per cent of all solar photo-voltaic installers, making it one of the largest renewables trainers in the country, James said.

Now with the Government’s Green Deal on the horizon, renewable energies has become its mainstay and the company has expanded to meet the demand.

Under the Green Deal, residents can pay for renewable energies in their home through their utilities provider with the savings they make on their energy bills. PPL is training tradesmen in installing renewable technologies, in the event, for example that a boiler breaks down and it works out cheaper for a resident to replace it under the Green Deal. PPL has recently moved to new premises on York Business Park in Nether Poppleton, which has a purpose built training centre, with workshops and a sound-proofed studio to film online courses, as well as larger offices to enable it to grow. The 8,000 sq ft building, occupied by 29 staff, will be fitted with its own renewables, including a 25 kilowatt solar photo-voltaic system and biomass system.

James said they expect to train up to 6,000 new installers for the Green Deal in the next year.

He said: “Over the last two years we have doubled staff and we see that doubling again in the next two years.”

What job would you like to have other than your own and why?

The pilot for the Virgin Spaceship Two. Every day would be a big roller coaster.

Greatest achievement?

Starting and running PPL.

Biggest mistake?

Not expanding sooner.

What makes you most angry?

People not performing their role correctly.

What do you need to make life complete?

A chocolate labrador.

Why do you make a difference?

Because I care.


He was hard work, but he made me smile.