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Trade bodies form joint training organisation for HVAC skills revamp

BSE Skills organisation will function as joint training body to oversee and develop revised vocational training for the electrical, HVAC and plumbing sectors

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), SELECT and SNIPEF have jointly been appointed to oversee vocational training for the electrical, plumbing and HVAC sectors through a new joint body called BSE Skills.

BSE Skills has claimed that the award represents the first time that trade bodies have been awarded a government commission to oversee a training programme in these fields.

Responsibilities of the new body will include developing apprenticeships, qualifications and National Occupational Standards that can be used by the four individual UK governments to support building services industries.

BSE Skills will take up a role formerly handled by the SummitSkills managing body, which had to cease trading in 2017 over funding issues.

A statement on the tender award said, “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.”

All three of the trade bodies making up the new organisation were required during the tender to show a close link with employers, while also demonstrating UK-wide capacity to meet national training requirements.

The new training framework is expected to be managed via the organisations’ combined membership of over 43,000 businesses. A BSE Skill consultation is also now underway with government on how best to update the National Occupational Standards.

Part of this process will involve work on identifying how to mutually recognise BSE qualifications across the UK.

Fiona Harper, who heads employment affairs with SELECT, welcomed the formation of the joint body to ensure industry retained control in developing key National Occupational Standards for its members,

“They are the starting point for all the work we do in 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.”

BESA chief executive David Frise said the tender award was recognition of how industry bodies can manage and deliver highly technical vocational training.

He said, “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.”

“Congratulations to my own staff at BESA and to their counterparts at SNIPEF and SELECT for putting together such an excellent joint bid.”

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