Trailblazer Standard

Abstract buildingTrailblazer Standard

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).

In case you are not aware, an apprenticeship standard is an ‘approved pathway’. It 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 (not just at a college and can include professional courses). 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. 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

Trailblazer groups should:

  • Presentation and training in business officeHave 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 has 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.

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.

Current Position

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. This was approved in December 2017 so now the next stage can begin.

Now the proposal has been accepted, the next stage is to draft the standard itself, including its key knowledge, skills and ‘behaviours’ (KSBs) that trainees will need to learn throughout their programme and the group is already preparing a draft of this. 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 and again employer input will be vital to this to ensure that the EPA is ‘relevant, affordable and accessible’.  To help with the process it would be useful to have input from the wide range of organisations within the BEMS industry as to what employers think this EPA should include. Therefore to start the process please help the group by answering a short survey which will help us to shape the EPA. Click here to access the survey.