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Funding secured for ‘green’ skills academy

Building services training body SummitSkills has secured £3 million of government funding for a new national academy focussing on environmental technology skills.

The academy will co-ordinate skills training in design, installation and maintenance of environmental technologies.

Approval for the bid, led on behalf of employers in the sector by SummitSkills, to create the £3m Building Services Engineering Green Skills Academy was announced by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson last week.

It is hoped the academy will help transform the ability of businesses in the sector to access the training and skills they will need to meet future increased demand for the installation of renewable and environmental technologies in the UK.

The BSE Green Skills Academy will focus on several areas of skills development for the sector:
• Design skills: Training in the full planning and installation process for environmental technologies, from the correct design and sizing of the renewable installations, to the best positioning of the product, through to its connection to the existing power and water systems.
• Product knowledge: Delivery of knowledge on specific products and technical issues for each technology.
• Commissioning and Maintenance: Skills for the commissioning, maintenance and service of these technologies post-installation.
• Innovation, entrepreneurship and business development: Developing the confidence of businesses to work with new technologies.

The announcement of the academy comes on the same day that the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, in its first National Strategic Skills Audit, highlights the critical role the building services engineering sector will play in the installation of the UK’s low-carbon infrastructure and the need for the sector to change and improve its skills.

Keith Marshall OBE, Chief Executive of SummitSkills said: “The creation of a Building Services Engineering Green Skills Academy is a critical step forward for the sector. As the National Strategic Skills Audit has highlighted, future jobs and employment in the sector depend on the ability of businesses and employers to develop the skills to deal with the task of fitting the environmental technologies, which will be commonplace as the UK meets its commitments to the low-carbon agenda.

“This academy will play a key role in ensuring that this skills capability is developed and that the BSE sector can become more proactive in promoting the green agenda to consumers and acting as a trailblazer for green skills.”