The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils

 Higher Level Skills and Qualifications

 Information for universities, colleges and private training providers

Information for individuals and employers

Career opportunities
The building services engineering (BSE) sector offers a range of higher level careers for both new entrants and for those who already have some trade skills and experience.

Whilst 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 postgraduate 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, mechanical 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.

Click here for guidance on recognition of a Higher National Certificate towards a BSE Foundation degree.

For further information about any of SummitSkills’ work related to higher level skills and qualifications please contact

Information for universities, colleges and private training providers

Labour market information (LMI) and other research
SummitSkills conducts research to confirm employers’ skills and training needs. The results of this research may be useful to help inform your course planning.

Environmental Technologies
The BSE sector has a key role to play in reducing carbon emissions, lowering energy consumption and conserving water. The sector needs the skills to design, install and maintain environmental technologies. 

The BSE higher education qualifications need to provide learners with grounding in all current and emerging technologies.  There is an opportunity for higher education institutes (HEI) to serve the market and to train and up-skill the existing workforce on environmental technologies, link to main environmental page. Some institutions may want to do this as partners in the National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies, a network of accredited training providers.

Foundation Degree - Framework specification and FD endorsement
A BSE Foundation degree Framework specification has been developed to help HEIs to develop and shape Fds to meet the needs of BSE employers.
Endorsement against the Framework specification enables use of a quality mark, confirming that the course content matches the skills that employers require from employees working in their sector.  Foundation degrees should offer consistency of approach, address the needs of a mobile workforce and support an employee’s progression.

Community of Practice
SummitSkills has set up a Community of Practice for universities and colleges that award, deliver or are developing BSE Foundation degrees. The Community of Practice seeks to utilise and share expertise for the benefit of its members and the wider higher education and BSE communities through:
• developing strategies for incorporating work-based learning and employer engagement
• working together to tackle common issues and potential barriers to successfully deliver Fds
• identifying and promoting Fds that meet employers’ needs
• developing and sharing learning and assessment materials
• contributing to future reviews of the BSE Fd Framework specification
• exploring ways of maximising opportunities for progression into and beyond Fds

Anyone interested in joining the Community of Practice should email

Built Environment Higher Education Strategy
A number of sector skills councils, universities, professional institutions, employers and other interested parties are working together to help higher education better serve the needs of everyone working in the built environment.

The Built Environment Skills Alliance (BESA) Higher Education Strategy Delivery Group invites employers, and others, with an interest in higher level skills within the built environment to influence its priorities and activities by contributing to an online Virtual Sounding Board.
If you would like to sign up or have any questions about the Virtual Sounding Board please email:

lf you would like to sign up or have any questions about the
Higher Level Apprenticeships SummitSkills is developing a framework for Higher Level (Level 4) Apprenticeships. For further information about this activity please contact

For further information about any of SummitSkills work related to higher level skills and qualifications please contact