The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

Higher Level Skills


Individuals and employers

Career opportunities

The building services engineering (BSE) sector offers a range of higher level careers, both for new entrants,  and for people with trade skills and experience. 


While no qualification will guarantee job offers, completing appropriate qualifications can help if you want to start a new career or progress within the industry.  A range of qualifications are available, including: Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), Foundation degrees (Fds), degrees and post-graduate qualifications. 

Specialist BSE qualifications are offered by a number of universities, colleges and private training providers. Some BSE employers will recruit (and in many cases retrain) graduates with degrees in related areas such as general engineering, mechanical engineering or electrical engineering.    

The University and Colleges Advisory Services (UCAS) allows you to search for full time higher education qualifications (up to but not including post-graduate level) whilst some (but not all) UK universities list postgraduate qualifications on UKPass.  

You may want to try a range of 'search terms' on these websites, (for example ‘building services’, ‘engineering’, ‘construction’, or ‘sustainability’) to find the best course for you.  If you cannot find the course you are looking for, contact a local university or college to see if they can offer something else you could consider.  

Selecting a course or qualification

There are a number of questions to consider when researching any qualifications (or training programmes) including:

  • where and when will the training take place (will I study in a university or college, in my workplace, at home through distance learning)?
  • what are the fees and any travel and accommodation costs be, and can I get help with these costs? 
  • what will I learn (and how relevant is it to what I want to do for a job)?
    how will I learn (how practical or academic will the course be)?
  • how long will it take (how soon will I complete the qualification and how much time might I be studying each week)?
  • what do people typically do after completing the qualification (do they find employment in the industry)?
  • waht opportunities are there to continue studying?
  • do I have suitable qualifications and/or experience to have a good chance of succeeding on the course?
  • can I count credit from previous training/and or experience toward the qualification (through a process usually known as Accreditation of Experiential and Prior Learning or APEL)?

Higher education (HE) qualifications (university level) can have the same title but very different content and/or delivery methods.  You should compare features such as: 

  • what the course does (and does not) cover – you may want to look at what technologies are covered and, depending upon your immediate needs and long term aspirations, how much focus there is on non-technical aspects like project management and business skills 
  • which, if any, employers have been involved in designing the course
  • what , if any, work based learning and/or industry involvement there is in delivery of the course
  • whether the course is accredited by any Professional Bodies 
  • what specialist equipment you may need access to, and where and when you might have access to this

Foundation degrees

SummitSkills has developed a Framework specification which tells universities and colleges what employers have said they want BSE Fds to incorporate. Universities are being invited to apply for endorsement of their Fds if they meet employers' requirements as demonstrated by the Framework specification. More information is available on our Foundation degree pages.


Higher Level Apprenticeships

SummitSkills has been involved in a number of projects to develop Higher Level Apprenticeships, led by Leeds College of Building, Greenwich University and North West Kent College, and City and Islington College. For further information about this activity, please email Catherine Elliott at SummitSkills. 


Professional Bodies

If you are working as a building services engineer or planning a career in the sector you may want to consider membership of a Professional Body


For further information about any of SummitSkills work related to higher level skills and qualifications please email Catherine Elliott at SummitSkills.