M&E sector leads the way

For the first time, an industry steering group has been set up to encourage the take up of Train to Gain. Led by BEST (Building Engineering Services Training), the group includes the HVCA (Heating & Ventilating Contractors Association), the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association), SummitSkills and EAS (Electrical Assessment Services) and provides a fully joined-up approach to address the training needs of the M&E (Mechanical & Electrical) sector.
With funding supplied by the LSC (Learning & Skills Council), the group has been charged with encouraging high volume growth for Train to Gain take up, with BEST providing assessors for the scheme.
Mark Brenner, CEO for BEST, explains the significance of this initiative: “Millions of pounds of Train to Gain money is yet to be spent – to date employer demand has failed to meet expectations – and it is hoped that this new approach, giving ownership to respected industry bodies, will engender a more positive reaction to what is essentially free training. 
“As a sector, BSE has a poor overall efficiency in terms of productivity, this is costing businesses money – with the current climate of economic uncertainty, there is a definite need to be as cost-effective as possible. Via Train to Gain, companies can be helped to identify opportunities for improving skills, competency and efficiency, resulting in staff and a culture that provide tangible commercial benefits to the business.”
Keith Marshall, CEO of SummitSkills added: “This is absolutely vital for the industry. When you are talking about the existing workforce, Train to Gain is the primary funding mechanism. We have argued long and hard with the Government to make it more flexible. One of our biggest issues is that people might have had a bad experience with Train to Gain in the past and now ignore it. I would say to employers: it is well worth looking at again.”
If successful, the scheme will not only improve the skills and productivity of the sector but put M&E firmly on the map, providing a bench mark for other industries which have yet to encourage, or benefit from, the Train to Gain scheme.
Employers can access the scheme anywhere in the country by contacting BEST, which will, in the first instance, carry out an initial assessment of eligibility and training need.

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