Commitment to training is essential

Public sector procurement has not been sufficiently focused in the past on vocational education and skills, according to Kevin Brennan, Minister of State for Further Education, Apprenticeship Skills and Consumer Affairs at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

“It is a myth that the Government is unable to do anything about procurement because of EU rules. We can insist on training being a condition of engagement on public sector contracts,” Mr Brennan told his audience at this year’s Annual Luncheon of the All Party Parliamentary Building Services Engineering Group.

The present Government had trebled the number of craft apprentices to 225,000, said Mr Brennan – claiming that it had rescued the apprenticeship scheme, and promising further to simplify the qualifications system, and to make it more flexible.

“There is no renewables agenda without us,” he told the meeting. “Our sector is absolutely vital for skills development.”

The Annual Luncheon also provided an appropriate platform for the launch of the Soft Landings Framework.

Developed by the Building Services Research and Information Association, the initiative is designed “to bring about a sea change in how future buildings will be handed over and brought into use”, said BSRIA’s Roderic Bunn.

The fourth annual luncheon of the All Party Parliamentary Building Services Engineering Group – to which HVCA provides administrative support – was hosted by chair Claire Curtis-Thomas, Labour MP for Crosby.

Other key parliamentarians who were present at the event included the Right Hon John Spellar MP, Barry Sheerman MP, Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan and Baroness Sharp.

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