Apprenticeships - The BESA
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Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are the lifeblood of the industry. Many supervisors and senior managers started their working lives as apprentices.

Apprenticeships can equip individuals with the skills needed for a successful career. They can provide a genuine alternative to going to university – or even an opportunity to combine an apprenticeship with some form of higher education.

For employers, they can provide a highly efficient and effective means of bringing new talent into their businesses and developing the skills of their workforce.

Our industry needs to reach out to as broad a cross-section of the school leaver and graduate population as possible, to attract talented young people into the world of building engineering services with its exciting combination of technical, engineering and commercial challenges.

There are over a million 16- to 24-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training (so-called NEETs). Present forecasts tell us that the construction industry will have some 182,000 jobs to fill by 2018. Yet only 7,280 construction apprenticeships were completed last year.

We need to communicate:

  • the breadth of fulfilling opportunities that our industry offers – from practical skills, through a range of organisational, logistics and management roles, to sophisticated design and IT opportunities;
  • the real possibilities for substantial personal prosperity for those choosing to work in our industry. 

Apprenticeship reform

There are also substantial apprenticeship reforms planned by government to encourage skills development within the UK workforce. These changes – for the moment only planned for England, with other regions likely to follow – will very significantly change the landscape of apprenticeships in our industry…and deliver three million new apprenticeships by 2020.

At the heart of the government’s strategy is the Trailblazer initiative, which is aimed at making apprenticeships more relevant – ensuring that competences are tested more rigorously and that gradings are introduced to better identify performance levels.

The BESA has been facilitating the introduction of Trailblazer apprenticeships into the sector by bringing member companies together to develop the necessary standards. Following the formation of a Building Services Engineering Trailblazer Employer Development Group, three Specialist Occupation Working Groups were set up covering industrial and commercial pipefitting, ductwork installation, and service and maintenance.

Development of Trailblazer Apprenticeships in Building Engineering Services

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