Innovative Certification Scheme Breaks New Ground - EU Skills

Innovative Certification Scheme Breaks New Ground

DencoHappel’s Service Division has become the first business operating in the non-domestic sector to put its employees through an alternative certification provision- the Group Competence Scheme (GCS).

Innovative Certification Scheme Breaks New Ground

The Hereford-based company has also become the first to show that GCS can be adopted as an alternative route to gas-safe registration by SME businesses.

GCS incorporates the same “matters of gas safety” criteria as the Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS)* and was developed over a 12-year period by gas industry experts. It has since been endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive and each business that adopts GCS is audited and certificated by a UKAS-accredited certification body as part of the process.

GCS offers a radically different way for businesses to demonstrate safety competence of their registered engineers, enabling them to satisfy the Gas Safe re-assessment requirements using their own internal competence management processes.

Gas Safe-registered businesses can now choose how they re-assess employees, and incorporate the concept of continuous professional development rather than reliance on a single “snapshot” assessment every five years. With employees briefed on technical and legislative changes as and when they are introduced, DencoHappel’s gas engineers remain continuously competent.

GCS offers employers the opportunity to plan, schedule and deliver the appropriate briefings, training and assessments for all their employees in line with their operational business needs.

DencoHappel has achieved certification across a broad scope of work in Natural gas and LPG sectors. This includes domestic and commercial heating & hot water appliances, commercial catering and commercial pipework testing & purging.

Mark Taylor, Group Competence Scheme Manager at DencoHappel, said: “The focus on evidence gained from the workplace gives us greater oversight and allows coaching / mentoring opportunities.”

Andy Sharp, Commercial Manager of Stroma Certification – providers of certification schemes, software and training – added: “We’ve worked hard to gain our UKAS-accreditation which means that we can offer this to other organisations in the gas industry. We are pleased that we were able to certificate DencoHappel for their GCS, ensuring that they are delivering competent and compliant gas installation work.”

“It is encouraging to see a firm like DencoHappel finding GCS robust, achievable and more efficient as it allowed their existing processes to be integrated in the scheme,” said Nick EllinsChief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills Group, the West Midlands-based expert voice on workforce issues in the sector across the UK.

“A major strand of our work is to develop competence and promote quality assurance excellence for all key firms working within the utility environment. We want to see talent developed and then remain in our vital sector. We look forward to seeing more employers take this GCS route to making excellence the standard.”

Skills issues and the need for alternative provision that GCS offers was outlined in the first-ever Workforce Renewal and Skills Strategy, which was published in February 2017.

The Skills Strategy was written due to the absence of the energy and utility sector’s requirements in the National Infrastructure Plan for Skills and other key sector and UK- wide skills strategy documents. It is estimated that 20% of the sector’s 500,000 UK-wide workforce will leave within a decade, which means that the sector needs to recruit 221,000 new people by 2027.*

The Skills Strategy was developed by the Energy & Utilities Skills Partnership, a collective of leading sector employers.

The Skills Partnership is working to secure the continual seamless delivery of essential services – electricity, gas, clean water, waste removal, environmental protection and recycling – across the UK. The Energy & Utility Skills Group was the driving force behind the formation of the Skills Partnership last summer.

For its work with Stroma Certification and Aaron Services –­­- heating, servicing and maintenance engineers – the Energy & Utility Skills Group has been nominated for Collaboration of the Year at the Gas Safety Awards on 26 April 2017.

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