A New Scheme set to Revolutionise Gas Safety Across the Industry

Ready for Roll-out – A New Scheme set to Revolutionise Gas Safety Across the Industry

The Group Competence Scheme (GCS) is a new way to ensure gas engineers are registered as Gas Safe. British Gas are the first in the industry to launch their Group Competence Scheme and the energy and home services provider is already reaping the benefits as their gas engineers start receiving certificates.

Ready for Roll-out - A New Scheme set to Revolutionise Gas Safety Across the Industry

Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) launched GCS in June 2014 as a new scheme for gas employers enabling them to renew the Gas Safe Register competencies of their employees using a continuous professional development approach.  GCS offers employers real choice in their approach to gas safety and allows them to use existing systems and processes as part of the certification.

Following a successful pilot scheme, British Gas are leading the way as the first organisation to have their GCS certificated and are encouraging other organisations to follow suit.

Bob Kerr, Head of HS&E and Compliance, from British Gas commented:

“We are delighted with the results of the GCS pilot scheme and are pleased to have a viable alternative to the Accredited Certification Scheme for registering our engineers.  As we embed the process, GCS will become business as usual for British Gas and we are already experiencing the benefits amongst our engineer workforce. We have worked hard to develop our own systems and processes to ensure our engineers are competent in all matters of gas safety and the GCS gives these further recognition.  We would encourage the industry to seriously consider implementing their own GCS and are proud to have been involved in leading such a ground-breaking pilot with Energy & Utility Skills.”

An alternative to the Nationally Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS), which relies on a snapshot assessment every five years, GCS is a more robust approach as it assesses competence on an ongoing basis, using existing management systems.  Evidence is gathered by the employer over a five year period. Once competence has been demonstrated, the employee receives certification from their employer, and the employee’s competence on the Gas Safety Register is renewed for a further five years. This helps the workforce as they are engaged in the process from the beginning, removing the need for often stressful and time-consuming assessment processes.   It is also beneficial for employers, offering significant legal protection as the scheme represents “all reasonable steps” that any employer could implement to ensure the continued competence of employees.

The scheme is now tried, tested and ready to roll out across the industry.  Others can learn from the successful pilot with British Gas and work with Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) to build and implement a GCS model specifically tailored to their needs.

Kev Sankar, Commercial Director at EU Skills, commented; “With the scheme now proven from end to end, we are focusing on extending its use across the whole industry.  While 2014 was about testing and proving, 2015 is about implementation, establishing consistent standards and improving efficiency across the sector.  It is important to remember that the scheme is available for businesses of any size, not just the biggest companies but the small and medium sized businesses as well.  We are ready to support businesses across the sector and can provide support packages tailored to suit individual business needs.”

Switching to GCS is a major opportunity for all Gas Safe Registered businesses and we would encourage employers to contact EU Skills to find out more about the range of support packages available.  EU Skills can help with a successful transition, working closely with employers to align the scheme with their existing systems and processes whilst also helping them to build trust within their workforces in the viability and sustainability of a new system.

Contact Lucy Ritchie, GCS Lead at EU Skills for more information on 07850 203755 or lucy.ritchie@euskills.co.uk.  More information is available at http://www.euskills.co.uk/gcs.

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For further media information please contact Katrina Wilcox, Communications Manager, EU Skills Katrina.wilcox@euskills.co.uk or 0121 713 8216

Notes to editors:

Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) is an employer-led membership organisation that helps ensure the gas, power, waste management and water industries have the skills they need – now and in the future. Through a range of products and services, EU Skills helps employers attract new talent, develop their workforces, and assure a high level of competence across their businesses. For further information about EU Skills please visit www.euskills.co.uk