The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Scottish electrical trade body Select and the Scottish & Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) have together set up BSE Skills Ltd.
BSE Skills has been commissioned by the UK national and devolved governments to manage and develop apprenticeships, qualifications and national occupational standards for the building services engineering sector.
SummitSkills, the government-sponsored sector skills council, had been the managing body until it ran out of money and ceased trading in 2017. Now, following a four-nation tender process, the central and devolved governments have turned to the three organisations to secure a future for vocational training in these specialist sectors.
“This sets a wonderful precedent for the future of vocational training across the UK,” said BESA chief executive David Frise. “We are very grateful to the UK governments for having the foresight to recognise the value industry bodies can bring to the management and delivery of vocational training in vital technical sectors.
“It is also extremely heartening to see three complementary bodies working closely together in partnership to achieve a result that should go a long way to addressing the skills shortages being experienced by building engineering employers.”
BSE Skills will now set about consulting with its combined memberships as well as relevant government departments and training providers to update national occupational standards for the sector across the UK.
The industry bodies have also identified a need to establish mutual recognition and transportability of all BSE qualifications across the UK and to recognise the specific needs of each industry and in all regions.
Fiona Harper, head of employment affairs at Select, said it was vital that the sector retained control over the development of its own national occupational standards.
“They are the starting point for all the work we do in developing the training undertaken by our workforce,” she said. “Securing the agreement was testament to the hard work put in by all of the trade bodies involved. It will be exciting to see how we can develop this work and shape the training needs of the sector as new technologies and working practices develop.”