SummitSkills has launched the Sector Skills Agreement (SSA) for building services engineering, a plan that will address the sector’s skills issues and lead to significant workforce development improvements and productivity benefits for the sector.
Following extensive research and consultation carried out as part of the project, SummitSkills identified the skills issues affecting the sector and worked with employers to develop solutions to address them. The result is the SSA, a deal between employers, training providers, and government that will ensure demand-led skills, and give employers the skilled workforce they need. The agreement has been facilitated by SummitSkills, but it is owned by the whole sector.
The SSA highlights five skills priorities that will be tackled over a three-year period:
- Image & Competence – promoting a positive image of the sector.
- Communication & Information – creating a knowledge centre for all sector skills development needs.
- Training Provision – ensuring proactive, high quality and relevant training.
- Funding – flexibility in funding to meet fast-changing needs.
- Management & Leadership – supporting the sector to plan and develop profitable and competitive businesses.
To take the SSA forward and carry out the activity contained within it, regional and national SSA implementation groups have been formed, which will have the accountability and responsibility to ensure the delivery of the SSA solutions in a given region and nation. These groups, led by employers, will meet on a quarterly basis to drive activity, as well as review and monitor progress of the SSA delivery in their region.
Activity for the first year will include:
- Aspirational sector image – improving careers guidance and active marketing to establish work in the building services engineering sector as an aspirational career choice for high achievers.
- Proof that training pays – show the benefits of training, clearly defining the contribution that training makes to increased productivity and profitability.
- Renewables and environmental technologies – develop national occupational standards for current and emerging technologies, and ensure these are integrated with careers strategies and apprenticeship training frameworks.
- Redeployment of funding – rationalising existing provision that is not fit-for-purpose and seeking a more effective use of public funding.
- Sustainable entry routes – working with partners to develop authorised entry and progression routes for a specific number of people that have been directly linked to the sector’s skills requirements. This will ensure that new entrants have a realistic chance of employment in the sector and employers can support a sustainable number of workers.
Keith Marshall, Chief Executive of SummitSkills, commented: “The Sector Skills Agreement has now been agreed by all parties involved, enabling SummitSkills to roll out and manage a number of programmes to address the five skills priorities. The proposed solutions are of real value to employers, and are set to make a significant difference that will help safeguard a prosperous sector for many years to come.”