The Word on the Street

Keith Marshall, OBE

The team at SummitSkills, the sector skills council for the sector, has been attending events around the country over the last few months talking to building services engineering professionals to find out what’s affecting them in their day to day work. Keith Marshall, OBE, chief executive of SummitSkills gives some of the feedback and an insight into issues that are at the front of the minds of those working in the sector.

It’s always a great privilege to be at events such as the Renewables Roadshow and talk to those professionals who deliver the varied and valuable services of the sector on the ground. We’ve talked to many of them up and down the country and without a doubt, top of the list of concerns for most is the Green Deal. And it’s not surprising. The government’s ambitious Carbon Plan has huge ramifications for the sector, but like anything in its infancy and on a scale like this, it’s not always easy to see how to take early advantage of the benefits and opportunities to come.

Other feedback is that business is painfully slow and many BSE employers are seeing the only growth potential as being in renewable technologies. Many of them are already installing these technologies, capitalising on the relationship they have with established customers, but many more want to. And whilst there is real hunger for knowledge about Green Deal, Feed-in Tariffs, Renewable Heat Incentive, Renewable Heat Premium Payments and the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, many employers and installers simply don’t know where to start.

That’s where we come in. Our role is to help the sector understand the impact and opportunities of this low carbon revolution and how to take advantage of them. Right now that includes helping employers and installers adapt their skills to work with emerging environmental technologies.

We predict a great demand in the next two years for BSE professionals who are skilled in this area and it’s vital that they start upskilling now to be able to provide the services that consumers and businesses will be looking for. BSE professionals need to be ready to respond to stay ahead of the competition and ensure sustainable business growth.

Critical to upskilling, however, is selecting appropriate training and the place to start is getting accredited with the Microgeneration Certification Scheme. Without this employers and installers are in danger of wasting time and money. Before investing in any training, contact SummitSkills and the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies for help and advice on identifying the right training and accredited providers. Additionally through the Joint Investment Programme, we can help employers in England reduce the costs of training for employees already trained to NVQ level 3 and assist them in gaining valuable environmental technology training.

There’s more good news too. We’ve just finalised two new apprenticeship frameworks – Building and Energy Management Systems and Building Services Engineering and Project Management. These are the first cross-BSE apprenticeships, reflecting the challenging but exciting times ahead of our sector and the opportunities for us to help shape the future of the UK.

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