Geothermal Drilling - Training & Qualification Toolkit

This page includes essential information on all aspects of training and qualifications for those who are involved in shallow geothermal drilling for ground source heat pump (GSHP) systems.

The British Drilling Association (BDA) expresses its thanks to CITB which part-funded this geothermal drilling work.

This project has been delivered with support from the CITB Growth Fund, which aims to ensure that the construction industry has the right people, with the right skills, in the right place, at the right time and is equipped to meet the future skills demands of the industry.

This page is particularly aimed at Lead Drillers who carry out the work but will be of interest to all in this drilling sector and clients alike. Select from the various items to improve your awareness of geothermal drilling; upskill your knowledge, and find information about what qualifications are necessary and how to obtain them.


Training for Lead Drillers in the correct practice for drilling closed loop boreholes; installing loops; grouting; flow and pressure testing and completion is essential to ensure that ground heat exchangers are fit for purpose. They should be aware of the important role they play and their contribution to a successful GSHP installation. Training by itself does not prove competence, which is assessed via an NVQ qualification process and regular auditing, but is the foundation for acquiring knowledge and skill.

National Geothermal Drilling Training Framework

The BDA has drawn up a training framework to be adopted nationally as the minimum content that should be included in any Lead Driller training course on geothermal drilling. Please note that it assumes that the Lead Driller has already been trained and is experienced in Land Drilling so this is an up-skilling framework.
  • Download the training scheme here


Uniquely to land drilling, the BDA has produced an E-Learning module, accessible from the link below, that a person can go into and progress through. It is structured to take the learner in a series of individual slides (featuring text, pictures, animation, film clips and testing) from what is geothermal heat to the final completion of a closed loop borehole. A certificate is awarded on successful completion of the module.
  • Click HERE to enter the module
  • Click HERE to enter the assessment

Training Courses

The BDA delivered a series of one-day training courses during 2014. The files below are the contents of those courses.

Session 1 

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Session 5

For details of future courses please contact the BDA

Apprenticeship Training

For several years the BDA has provided in partnership with CITB a 2-year Land Drilling apprenticeship scheme. Open to all ages, it provides a full training programme and eventual award of NVQ Land Drilling. The scheme now incorporates geothermal drilling (see Geothermal Drilling Training Framework above which is a training module within the scheme)
  • Click HERE for apprenticeship details

NVQ Diploma Land Drilling Qualification

Being formally qualified is an industry requirement for land drilling operatives. When a person is suitably trained and experienced they can apply to be assessed for this qualification. It is also the route to a CSCS card. Those engaged in geothermal drilling need to obtain this qualification.
  • For NVQ details click HERE
  • For CSCS details click HERE
The BDA has produced a set of questions for Assessors to use during Geothermal NVQ assessments. Contact the BDA office for details.

BDA Audit

To maintain proof of competence once the NVQ is obtained, it is necessary to be re-inspected at regular intervals. The BDA Audit fulfils the role of providing that ongoing proof which clients require. Geothermal Drilling is now part of the BDA Audit and those in the sector should obtain it.
  • For BDA Audit details click HERE

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