Trailblazer Standard

Abstract buildingThe 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 and 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 was approved in December 2017 so the Employers Group is now working on the next stage. This involves developing the standard itself, including the key knowledge, skills and ‘behaviours’ (KSBs) that trainees will need to learn throughout their programme. 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 and again employer input will be vital to this to ensure that the EPA is ‘relevant, affordable and accessible’.  To help with the process the group have received input from the wide range of organisations within the BEMS industry as to what employers think this EPA should include via a survey on this site and on-going feedback.

Following extensive consultation the final draft of the proposed standard (not the EPA as this will require further development) will be available for industry wide comment so if you would like to be involved with this please make contact with Wendy Belfield or Gary Smith. Alternatively the draft standard will be accessible via the BCIA website. It is then anticipated that the final version of the standard will be submitted to the Institute of Apprenticeships at the end of May for approval. We hope therefore that a decision will be received over the summer so that the group can then concentrate on the final development of the EPA. Once this is achieved the EPA proposal will need to be approved and the hope is that the BEMS Trailblazer Standard will then be ready for delivery early in 2019. Once this is achieved levy paying employers will be able to draw down funding to develop BEMS Controls Engineers and non-levy payers will have to pay only up to 10% of the training costs with the Government funding the remainder.

Feedback needed on new BEMS Controls Engineer Standard

The challenge of developing BEMS Controls Engineers in sufficient numbers and quality for the industry, is one that the BCIA continues toaddress. The main focus at present is to achieve full professional recognition for BEMS Control Engineers. This primarily involves the completion of a BEMS Controls Engineer Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard (required as part of the government’s overhaul of the old apprenticeship scheme).

An employer Trailblazer Group was formed and a proposal to develop the BEMS Controls Engineer Standard was approved in December 2017. The next step was to draft the standard itself, including its occupational profile, key knowledge, skills and behaviours. To help with this the BCIA sought feedback from organisations across the industry. These comments and contributions have been incorporated into three documents: BEMS Controls Engineer Standard, Duty Matrix Summary and KSB Schedule.

The three documents need to be submitted to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) but first we need your help and welcome your feedback on each document.

An integral part of the proposed Standard is the Occupational Profile which should typically contain 10-20 duties which make up the occupation of a BEMS Control Engineer. These are duties that a fully competent employee should be able to undertake when working in the occupation. The updated Duty Matrix (which can be viewed here) outlines the 15 duties identified for the role which were included in the approved ‘Proposal to develop the Standard’.

For each of the duties, the knowledge, behaviour and skills for competence must be described and are detailed in the updated KSB Schedule which can be viewed hereThe KSB Schedule lists the Knowledge, Behaviour and Skills required for each of the duties together with the Criteria for Measurement and potential Assessment Methods. These are referenced as: K1, K2, K3 etc., B1, B2, B3., S1, S2, S3 etc., C1, C2, C3 etc., and AM1, AM2 and AM3.

The Occupational Profile Summary, which must accompany the application, can be viewed here.

A wide range of input is needed, so please help the employer group by kindly reviewing the updated documents found here and send any final comments to Roger Borer by 14 May 2018. The intention being to submit the BEMS Controls Engineer Standard proposal for the 23 May IfA submission closing date.

We thank you for continued commitment and support in helping to shape the industry.

Further information is available here