- Aaron Services’ credit the Group Competence Scheme with increasing their gas engineers’ motivation and competence and earning a Training & Development Award nomination
- The Group Competence Scheme supports business continuity by enabling engineers to maintain their skills and competency, driving business efficiencies and reducing costs and time
- Energy & Utility Skills’ work with Aaron Services and Stroma Certification also earned the trio a nomination for Collaboration of the Year
A provider of heating, servicing and maintenance services is crediting an alternative certification provision for its industry award nomination.
Aaron Services was nominated for the Staff Training & Development Award at the Gas Safety Awards that took place at Hinckley Island Hotel, Leicestershire recently.
In putting its gas engineers through the alternative Group Competence Scheme (GCS), Aaron Services has acknowledged it for increasing its gas engineers’ performance and competence.
GCS was developed by Energy & Utility Skills and gas industry experts over a 12-year period and provides an alternative route to registration for gas-safe businesses. It incorporates the same “matters of gas safety” criteria as the Accredited Certification Scheme.
GCS 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 the 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. GCS enables employees to be briefed on technical and legislative changes as and when they are introduced.
Jon Posey, Commercial Director for Aaron Services, said: “We are extremely proud of our team’s hard work and dedication in ensuring that our gas operatives continue to receive a first class bespoke development & training programme, helping to ensure that gas safety is at the forefront of our business activities.”
The ceremony also saw Energy & Utility Skills, the expert voice on workforce issues in the sector, alongside Aaron Services and Stroma Certification, providers of certification schemes, software and training, vie for the Collaboration of the Year Award. This partnership helped Stroma become the first certification body to achieve UKAS accreditation to provide GCS audit and certification services in gas industry outside of the beyond the domestic market.
Andy Sharp, Commercial Manager of Stroma Certification, said: “We’ve worked hard to gain our UKAS-accreditation which means that we can offer this GCS certification to other organisations in the gas industry. The benefits Aaron Services had reported show that GCS is a viable alternative provision for employers that have fewer engineers than the likes of British Gas.”
Skills issues and the need for the 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 utilities 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.*
“UKAS’ accreditation of Stroma and Stroma’s certification of Aaron Services all ran in parallel as they all developed their processes, systems and knowledge required to meet the standard,” added Nick Ellins, Chief Executive of Energy & Utility Skills Group.
“Collaboration for the good of the sector underpins the findings of the Workforce Renewal Skills Strategy, whose objectives we are working with and across the sector to deliver. 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.”
The Training & Development Award was won by The Salvation Army Housing Association. Northern Shared Services took the Gas Collaboration Award.
The Awards seek to celebrate and reward the achievements, dedication, contribution and overall commitment of compliance professionals to gas and electrical safety.