Making sure qualifications suit your needs


How do you assess your skill at your job? How can you find out which other careers those skills might open up to you? Where can you discover what skills your workforce needs in order to deliver the services your customer wants – both now and in the future? How do you know what to look for in a new employee?

In all of these cases, the answer is National Occupational Standards (NOS). NOS describe what a person needs to do, know and understand in order to carry out a particular job role effectively. NOS can be used as a reference across the whole of the UK, to demonstrate competence and measure performance. They can be used to assess training needs and identify development opportunities and increase job satisfaction. They will even help you to recognise achievements and improve recruitment.

NOS are developed by SummitSkills and other sector skills councils, working together with a representative sample of employers and other key stakeholders who agree them for their sector. NOS are important because they are the building blocks of qualifications, an arrangement designed to ensure that the workforce has access to high quality training which will equip employees with the right skills for the future. For this to work, however, the National Occupational Standards need to be re-examined regularly to ensure those qualifications remain relevant. SummitSkills is just starting its latest review of the existing NOS across the whole building services engineering sector (electrotechnical, heating and ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration and plumbing industries).

The views and experience of employers, employer bodies, those who work with them and other stakeholders will be crucial. We must get it right, so that the updated National Occupational Standards continue to help the sector to evolve and take account of changes in legislation, working practices, developing technologies and the drive towards low carbon. If you are interested in helping to ensure the future success of the sector, taking part in this review is a good way to know that you are making a difference.

There are different ways you can get involved in the review. For more information call 01908 303973 or email The review should be completed by spring 2014.

SummitSkills is the sector skills council for building services engineering.

Keith Marshall OBE, Chief Executive of SummitSkills 

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