Developed by employer groups brought together under the auspices of the Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES), the new apprenticeship standards have been the subject of extensive industry consultation, and were submitted to the Apprenticeship Unit of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in June.
Confirmation that the new standards meet the required criteria was contained in an announcement by the Prime Minister of a package of measures designed to boost apprenticeship numbers and drive up the quality of training.
Commenting on the approval of the standards – which represents a continuation of the government’s ongoing Trailblazer programme – skills minister Nick Boles said that businesses were best placed to train the next generation of workers and help deliver three million high-quality apprenticeships by 2020.
“By designing apprenticeships, organisations like the Building & Engineering Services Association and their employer groups are ensuring that talented young people develop the skills needed to progress up the career ladder and help drive businesses forward,” the minister added.
Consistent with the government’s apprenticeship reforms, the key objective of the Trailblazer programme is to make sure it reflects employers’ business requirements.
“This positive development follows similar approval granted in respect of apprenticeships in the pipefitting trades in the spring of this year, and represents another significant step towards ensuring competence and professionalism across building engineering services,” according to Colin Acheson, chairman of the Employer Development Group, which was established to manage the apprenticeship standards revisions.
Standards-setting exercises will begin shortly in respect of the ventilation hygiene and other relevant fields, and further groupings of employers have been formed to undertake the relevant work.
The Association has also been involved in the development of Trailblazer apprenticeships for refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump technicians through its membership of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration industry Board, and of plumbing and domestic heating apprenticeships through its sponsorship of Summit Skills.
Consideration is also being given to higher- and degree-level apprenticeships for building services engineers.