Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BESA steps into training breach

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has moved quickly to reassure employers about the availability of ongoing training provision in the wake of the closure of the sector skills body SummitSkills.

The Association’s training director Tony Howard said BESA was already working with employers right across the UK to develop new Trailblazer apprenticeships in England; while also driving forward training standards in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Association is developing Trailblazers across a wide range of technical sectors and at a variety of levels including: installation; service & maintenance; ductwork; ventilation hygiene; refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps; and has also started work on developing apprenticeships at higher and degree level.

BESA will also offer Trailblazers and specific training courses for the domestic plumbing and heating sectors. It announced it would be working with the newly launched Plumbing and Heating Skills Partnership, which was set up in the wake of the closure of SummitSkills, to support the particular needs of its heating and plumbing members.  

SummitSkills played a central role in setting standards and creating benchmarks for training as well as developing strategies in partnership with trade organisations and employers specifically for building engineering disciplines.


However, the national picture for training provision has changed dramatically and, following the thorough revision of the government’s approach to apprenticeship funding and development, the decision was taken to close the organisation this month.

As the UK-wide industry body for skills and training, BESA said it was “picking up the baton” by working with employers “to bring together and represent the needs of our industry, enabling quality apprenticeships, skills and training to support their businesses”.

“Apprenticeships work and deliver real business benefits to employers,” said Mr Howard. “Research carried out by BESA’s training department has found that 83% of apprentices believe their career prospects have improved as a result of securing a place on an apprenticeship scheme.

“70% of employers say their productivity, and therefore business growth, is improved by taking on apprentices and every £1 of taxpayers’ money invested in apprenticeships at levels 2 and 3 pays back between £26 and £28 in long-term economic benefits.”

Mr Howard added that National Apprenticeship Week 2017 was demonstrating the value of apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses, social inclusion, and the wider economy.

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