Skills minister backs professional apprenticeships

Professional apprenticeships, such as those developed by HVCA subsidiary Building Engineering Services Training (BEST), have received the approval of skills minister John Hayes.

In a letter to BEST Chief Executive Dr Mark Brenner, Mr Hayes confirmed that the Government was committed to improving progression routes into and through apprenticeships.

“We aim to ensure that there are clear qualification and career pathways from pre-apprenticeship and foundation level right through to higher-level skills and professional development …and are working on ways to ensure that people can progress through an apprenticeship to higher-level professional skills and university,” the minister said.

The BEST professional apprenticeships have been developed in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

They allow apprentices pursuing Level 3 National Vocational Qualifications to receive Eng Tech professional accreditation following achievement of qualifying criteria laid down by the Engineering Council – and to continue their professional development on to bachelor’s and master’s degree status.

Commenting on the BEST model, Mr Hayes added that: “Apprentices should have something to aspire to and be awarded recognition for their work, just as graduates are.

“I am keen to see professional bodies and guilds involved in this, and your approach is exactly the type of professional apprenticeship route I would like to see more of.”

“The qualification and career paths created by BEST and its partner organisations enable an apprentice to specialise as a master craftsman, train for a foundation degree, progress into higher education and senior management – and even achieve chartered engineer status.” said Dr Brenner.

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