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Trade bodies win historic skills bid
Published:  01 October, 2018
BESA, SELECT, SNIPEF, qualifications, National Occupational Standards, Iain McCaskey, Fiona Harper, Duncan Wilson

Three trade bodies have joined forces to secure an historic agreement from the four UK governments to manage and develop apprenticeships, qualifications and National Occupational Standards for the building services engineering sector.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) ;SELECT and SNIPEF have created a joint body called BSE Skills Ltd,which has now been appointed to oversee vocational training in electrical, plumbing and HVAC.

This sets an historic precedent as it is the first time that trade bodies have received a government commission to carry out this work. The government sponsored sector skills council SummitSkills was the managing body until it ceased trading in 2017 due to insufficient funding.

Now, following a four-nation tender process, the central and devolved governments have turned to the three organisations in order to ensure a secure future for vocational training in these crucial specialist sectors.

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 doing developing the training undertaken by our workforce,”she added.“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,” she added.

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 right 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. It has also undertaken to align and co-ordinate all end dates for UK qualifications and modern apprenticeship frameworks in line with the rapidly changing landscape for apprentice recruitment and funding.