The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) believes a newly updated and better financed Level 4 apprenticeship for senior technicians will play an influential role in raising professional standards across the building services sector.
The Minister for Apprenticeships and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) have unveiled the revised building services engineering qualification with each apprentice supported by an increased level of £13,000 in government funding.
Since it was first introduced in 2018, more than 250 apprentices have embarked on a Building Services Engineering Senior Apprenticeship (ST0041) mainly in the 19-24 age group. It created a new entry route into the construction and built environment sectors and a clear career pathway to senior positions for on-site roles.
Most of the first intake are now about to qualify and they will be able to register as engineering technicians (EngTech) with the Engineering Council via the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) giving them valuable professional status.
The success of the apprenticeship has led to it being expanded to cover a wider range of on and off-site roles offered by more potential employers including clients, consulting engineers and contractors.
BESA said this first generation of senior technician apprentices was “living proof” of the success of apprenticeships in opening up challenging and rewarding careers – and preparing many for leadership roles. However, it added that all apprenticeships should be revised on a regular basis to ensure they remain up to date and fit for purpose.
This prompted a review process last year in partnership with employers, training providers and professional bodies leading to the updating of the qualification and its relaunch for a new intake starting this summer.
It remains primarily a three-year course including 32 months on the job training followed by a four-month mandatory End Point Assessment (EPA) period when the practical competence and readiness for work of each candidate is assessed.
“This has already proved to be an extremely valuable route into the industry for many young people,” said Neil Weller, Trailblazer Chair. “However, we keep qualifications under constant review and consult closely with employers to make sure apprenticeships continue to meet their requirements.
“We must also ensure our approach continues to fit with the government’s overall ambition for skills, training, and qualifications – hence the decision to revamp and relaunch this extremely important apprenticeship. We are delighted with the outcome and are confident this will prepare a whole new generation of engineers for skilled work at the very top of our sector,” he added.