Addressing the needs of the sector

Following extensive research and consultation with employers, SummitSkills has completed stage three of its Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) and laid out draft action plans to address the skills needs of the building services engineering (BSE) sector.
During stage one and two of the SSA project, SummitSkills gathered information and feedback from the sector on its current and future skill needs, and the training provision needed to support this. Stage three has involved mapping out the issues affecting the sector and drafting solutions that will address them. From the research, five key skills priorities have arisen: 

  • Professional image and competence – promoting positive images of building services engineering to attract and develop a skilled, sustainable workforce.
  • Communication and information – creating a knowledge-centre for all sector skills development needs.
  • Training provision – enabling proactive, high-quality training provision that meets the sector’s priorities.
  • Funding – creating a structure of flexible funding to support fast-changing skills needs.
  • Management and leadership – ensuring the sector has the skills to plan and develop profitable and competitive businesses.

For each of the five priorities, SummitSkills has compiled a detailed action plan that proposes a series of sector programmes to be undertaken, and outlines the involvement needed from employers and partners, draft timescales and the positive impact that activity will generate.
Following the format of the previous two stages, a plan has been produced for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and each of the nine English regions. The draft action plans are now being tested out regionally and nationally to gauge opinion and response. A series of one-to-one and group negotiations will be held with stakeholders, employers, trade associations and professional bodies, to discuss the proposals and agree on what can be achieved.
Keith Marshall, Chief Executive of SummitSkills, said: “SummitSkills has received a very positive response from all our partners to the SSA work to date. An analysis of the sector’s skills gap has been summarised within the full stage three report, with each gap linked directly to a sector programme to redress the issues through workable solutions and realistic timescales.”
As the project moves into its final stages, SSA implementation teams, comprising key local stakeholders and influential sector employers in each nation or region, will take responsibility for progressing the established actions at a local level.
The stage three report and its detailed recommendations can be obtained from

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