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.


Act now to influence the Trailblazer funding band

The Employer Group is now in full flow with the BEMS Controls Engineer Trailblazer development and we are delighted to announce that our application has now been approved.

The next stage is to assess whether the funding band allocated to us by the Institute for Apprenticeships is sufficient for you and your businesses to carry out the training needed to develop your staff into competent BEMS Controls Engineers.

This is one of the most important stages because we need to ensure that you have access to the right level of funding for each employee on a BEMS Trailblazer apprenticeship. We have initially been allocated £9,000 for each employee (over a three year period). If we believe this isn’t enough, we can contest the funding band, but we need evidence to challenge it – and we need your help to do that.

What do we need?

The Employer Group needs to know which training courses you currently use for staff training and development, their duration and cost as this will allow us to gauge the potential funding which will be required for the BEMS Controls Engineer Trailblazer. To make this easier, a spreadsheet can be downloaded here which contains a tab with example training courses to show all of the information which we need. Please complete the spreadsheet and return it to Wendy Belfield by Friday 20 July.

The BEMS Controls Engineer Trailblazer is being developed by the Employer Group for the buildings controls industry and it is our opportunity to ensure that a route is available to help you to develop your staff into competent BEMS Controls Engineers. Please help us, and every future employee in our industry to achieve this by completing as much of this document that you can.