The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

Bridging the gap - a case study

The introduction of the Engineering Services SKILLcard, which registers the skills and competencies of people working in the mechanical services industry of the building services sector, is recognised as the leading scheme for registering workers in the industry throughout the UK.  However, this presents difficulties for those workers who acquired their skills on the job but have no formal qualifications to prove their expertise.

SummitSkills' National Assessment Programme

To bridge the gap for experienced workers, SummitSkills, in partnership with the Heating and Ventilation Contractors’ Association (HVCA) and Engineering Services SKILLcard, developed the SummitSkills National Assessment Programme (SNAP).  This has been designed specifically for experienced workers in the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration industry who need formal qualifications (S/NVQ Diplomas) to gain SKILLcards, which are often required to secure a job.  These workers can now have their skills recognised through on-site assessment leading to formal qualification.


Services, maintenance and building Group Interserve was quick to spot the potential and is using SNAP as an invaluable way to boost skills and morale, benefiting employees and the business.  Works manager Jim Jackson is working with Dudley College to accredit employees through NVQ Diploma levels 2 and 3, bringing them up to Craftsman status.  One of the benefits are that people gather and prepare evidence for assessments on their own time, avoiding precious business time being spent on college courses.

Jim said: “The SNAP initiative ticks all the boxes for us. It’s a real motivator. People employed as a mate see it as a recognised route to a qualification without having to go to college. It’s an incentive and it’s proving very popular. I manage 120 guys, and lads are constantly asking if they can do it.”  He concluded: “This is an ongoing process.  That’s got to be good for the business, the employee and the industry.”

The Future

SNAP is helping to raise standards and reduce risk, enabling better manpower planning to combat skills shortages and increasing customer confidence in the quality of the services businesses provide.  The programme is good news for employers and employees alike.  SNAP provides formal recognition of people’s existing skills, giving businesses access to a pool of valuable workers with proven capabilities, and looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.

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