The challenge of developing BEMS Control Engineers in sufficient numbers and quality for the industry, is one that the wide variety of BCIA employer members have been pondering since the association’s formation (in its current form) in 2004. Many inroads have been made during this period from the BCIA’s formation and many more developments are in the pipeline.
The main focus at present is to achieve full professional recognition for BEMS Control Engineers and this will primarily involve the completion of a BEMS Trailblazer Apprenticeship standard (required as part of the government’s overhaul of the old apprenticeship scheme).
An apprenticeship standard is an ‘approved pathway’ which outlines what a ‘trainee’ could be doing, and the skills they need to become a BEMS Control Engineer. But it is much broader than the traditional apprenticeship course used to be and can include a whole range of other appropriate areas of study including professional as well as college courses. In fact, it is likely that any new ‘apprenticeship standard’ for the Building Controls Industry will be a Level 4 and will build upon existing pathways. It should therefore allow potential recruits (of all ages and skill levels) from all backgrounds (from within and outside the industry) to access this route and the Government funding associated with it.
In order to be involved in the Trailblazer process an employer-led Trailblazer Group has to be formed and the BCIA has facilitated this by putting BEMS employers in touch with one another.
Trailblazer groups should:
- Have a wide range of employers who are committed to working actively on the development of a new apprenticeship standard, and intend to use the apprenticeship standard once it’s been approved for delivery.
- Have at least 10 different employers as members (in addition to any professional bodies or trade associations who want to be involved).
- Reflect the range of companies which employ people in this occupation – including size, geographical spread and sector. Any trailblazer group should normally include at least two employers with fewer than 50 employees.
A group has now been formed which meets the ‘Trailblazer Group’ criteria but new members are always needed so if you would like to be involved please email either of the Trailblazer Co-Chairs:
Wendy Belfield of InTandem Systems
Gary Smith of Global Associates
Even if you are unable to commit to the use of the new Apprenticeship Standard at this stage we would still encourage you to support the Trailblazer Group and input your knowledge and expertise by making contact.
A proposal to develop the BEMS Controls Engineer Standard has been prepared and was submitted to the Institute of Apprenticeships for approval at the end of October 2017. The group is currently waiting to hear whether the proposal has been accepted and anticipate that a decision will be made in early 2018.
Once a proposal has been accepted, the next stage is to draft the standard itself, including the key knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) that trainees will need to learn throughout the programme. The group is already preparing the first draft of this document. In addition, all Apprenticeship Standards have to include an EPA (End Point Assessment) and this is something that the BEMS Trailblazer Group will need to develop at Level 4. Employer input will be vital to this to ensure that the EPA is ‘relevant, affordable and accessible’. Requests for input into this area specifically will be made via the BCIA website early in 2018 so please watch this space.