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New BCIA chief sets out ambitions for continuous industry training

Jon Belfield commits to kick off his tenure during the 2018 Year of Engineering with aims to tackle a building controls skill-gap, while ensuring access to current industry expertise

Initiatives to ensure continuous training within the built environment supply chain and ensuring sufficient access for young people to the expertise of skilled engineers are identified as key focuses for the new president of the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA).

Jon Belfield, former vice president of the BCIA and managing director of installation company InTandem Systems, has said he hopes to use his appointment as the organisation’s chief executive to bring more skilled young people into the industry. This pledge comes at a time of significant technical advancements in the type of systems being developed

Mr Belfield told RAC Magazine that the pace of development in technology in recent years was reflected in the building controls sector via increasing demand for data and connected technologies that are intended to ensure more efficient operation.

He added, “Equipment that was once ‘standalone’ requiring full control from a Building Management System (BMS) is now increasingly being developed with on-board controls.”

“One of the key opportunities for further innovation is to neatly bind these packaged systems and components into the overall BMS to provide the most effective and energy efficient control.”

Realising the potential benefits of such systems will require sufficient skills in both the current and future workforce.

Training focused around encouraging young people to enter the field of building controls, as well as ensuring ongoing development for all staff, will therefore be a strong focus going forward for the BCIA, Mr Belfield added.

The BCIA said it would also be partnering with the ‘2018 Year of engineering’ initiative around trying to tackle a skills gap that is impacting the entire construction industry.

Mr Belfield argued that one of the most effective ways to share building controls knowledge could be found in the “incredible number of skilled and talented engineers in our sector.”

However, he noted that existing time demands on such staff made it difficult to ensure sufficient opportunities to share expertise.

Mr Belfield said, “To try and break this loop, one challenge is to find a way of exposing the next generation to these talented engineers to initially learn, then support and finally match their talent. This format will increase both technical skills and professional standards.”

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