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The Experienced Worker Assessment: A significant step forward in skills validation

For BEMS engineers requiring an ECS Gold Card, or those with a card soon expiring, the BEMS Control Engineer Experienced Worker Assessment programme could be a significant step forward for BMS professionals in proving competence.

The requirement for certification was announced in changes to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) with renewals and new applications now requiring competency to be formally assessed and certified.  These changes have caused real concern for the building controls and BEMS industry as a sector, as whilst holding a card isn’t mandatory, it is an expectation of many main contractors to ensure site safety. 

To support all those impacted, the BCIA worked closely with the industry, Group Horizon and ECS to develop an industry Experienced Worker Assessment (EWA) that was cost and time efficient but crucially met the stringent requirements of the card scheme.

The EWA aims to assess and validate the knowledge and expertise of workers who have gained significant experience in the BEMS field.

Upon enrolling for the EWA, the individual will receive a provisional card, which will give them site access and highlight they are working through towards EWA certification. This will allow them up to 18 months to work through the programme and fill any skills or knowledge gaps they have.

Upon completion of the Experienced Worker Assessment, successful candidates will be able to show formal recognition of prior learning and experience in order to apply for their ECS BEMS Gold Card. Gaining certification equivalent to a level 4 qualification will drive up standards in the industry and provide an incredible opportunity for candidates to advance their career.

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BCIA President Stacey Lucas celebrated this positive move for the industry. She said: “Whilst the impending changes to the card schemes have been known for some time, developing a solution that worked for our industry meant collaborating with employers and our partners.  As the trade association for the sector, we are proud to have invested in such a valuable scheme that will help further the industry and support the retention of highly-experienced BEMS professionals. We are confident also that the BEMS EWA presents a solution that is sensitive to both time and cost for our members and the BEMS industry more widely.

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, said: “The BEMS Controls Engineer Experienced Worker Assessment is a crucial development for the building controls sector, which will enable professional engineers to prove their competence, built over years working in the industry. Due to the huge importance of industry standards and building safety, it was vital to get the details of this EWA right and we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to its development.”

Andy Reakes, Director of Growth and Development at ECS, commented: “A number of different Experienced Worker Assessment routes have been developed in recent years and we are delighted this one has arrived for a sector that will play a crucial role in the safe and professional construction of the buildings of tomorrow.”

For more information visit the BCIA website www.bcia.co.uk/ewa or register for the EWA by contacting ewa@grouphorizon.co.uk.

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