The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has opened its new online academy delivering a comprehensive programme of training courses, assessments and CPD for individuals, employers, and training providers in the building services sector.

Individuals will be able to access all of the resources needed to improve their existing skills and learn new ones while also keeping their qualifications and competencies up to date. The academy will also help employers and managers ensure their workforces are fully qualified and able to comply with legislation and industry standards.

It will also aid employers’ efforts to plug skills gaps by making access to the appropriate training easier, more flexible and, therefore, more appealing to a wider section of the population. All training modules are accessible from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop whether the user is at home, at work or on the move.

“Online learning really came into its own during the lockdown months,” said BESA President Neil Brackenridge. “It proved the value of being able to access course materials from anywhere and at any time, which is exactly the BESA Academy model.

“Our plans were already well advanced before the crisis hit, but the surge in demand for this kind of ‘blended’ model of online and physical training accelerated our efforts. The industry is moving rapidly into a new era and needs training that can adapt to our changing requirements.”

BESA explains that employers and workers benefit from the fact that courses can be accessed at any time and in any place so improving convenience and limiting disruption to working time. All courses are flexible and can be completed in ‘bite sized chunks’. Each Academy candidate receives an online ‘skills passport’ storing all their completed training, competencies, qualifications, and CV in one place for ease of access.

The association says that the BESA Academy will also help make specific building engineering training more affordable.

“A lot of colleges had been forced to discontinue some engineering apprenticeships, for example, because they are more expensive and complex than other types of training,” said BESA’s Director of Training and Skills Helen Yeulet. “Delivering more of the course content remotely will make it more economically viable.”

The academy also aims to attract a new generation of engineers to the industry with younger people, in particular, used to accessing learning materials remotely and at their own convenience.

“This will help engineering employers looking to modernise their approach and appeal to the 18-35 group, in particular,” said BESA Vice-President Claire Curran. “With the new working from home culture, we must introduce greater flexibility into our employment and training models.”

For more information, visit BESA's academy website.