Interest in apprenticeships hits ‘all-time high’

BESA, Building Engineering Services Association, apprenticeships
BESA Training welding apprentices and heating and ventilation apprentices at Edinburgh College, Midlothian Campus.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) reports receiving record levels of enquiries from people interested in taking up apprenticeships. Leading the way is BESA Scotland, with the highest-ever number of visits to its apprenticeship assessment web site recorded during May — following the Association’s successful lobbying campaign to have travel funding for apprentices reinstated by the Scottish Parliament.

BESA is working with building engineering employers to developed targeted Trailblazer apprenticeships in key technical sectors — including installation, service and maintenance, heating and plumbing, ductwork, ventilation hygiene, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps. BESA has also started work on developing apprenticeships at higher and degree level.

Training director Tony Howard says,‘A vocational apprenticeship or training course is the first step on the journey to a fulfilling career. We are working closely with employers in our sector to develop and deliver apprenticeships at all levels — from initial technician grades right up to degree equivalence, that will meet the industry’s future skills requirements.

‘Apprenticeships work by boosting economic productivity, growing our skills base and giving millions a leg up the ladder of opportunity. Over 90% of apprentices currently go into work or further training — and they are not building up student debt along the way.

In a survey carried out by BESA’s training department, 70% of employers said their productivity and, therefore, business growth was improved by taking on apprentices, and that every £1 of taxpayers’ money invested in apprenticeships at levels two and three will pay back £26 to £28 in long-term economic benefits.

BESA has been accepted as a member of the Register of Approved Training Providers, which sets standards and safeguards the quality of apprentice training and short courses.

As part of this process, BESA is approving a series of training centres nationwide to deliver its course. It has recently launched a new accredited course for grease hygiene operations as part of its ventilation programme. There is a range of approved F-gas courses. Currently under development are accredited courses covering electrical, heating and hot water, plumbing, air conditioning and heat pumps, renewables and health and safety.

Tony Howard summarises, ‘There has never been a greater need for this kind of targeted training as the industry responds to tough new quality standards and the UK-wide skills shortage.’

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