A building services engineering (BSE) Foundation degree being delivered by Liverpool Community College and awarded by Liverpool John Moores University is said to be the first to secure the endorsement of both SummitSkills and fdf (Foundation degree Forward).
The endorsement is designed to confirm that the course content matches the skills that employers require from employees working in their sector, as identified through the development of the SummitSkills Foundation degree framework specification.
Employers and education providers helped to shape the framework of the course's content in order for the degree to offer a consist approach and address the needs of a mobile workforce and support an employee's progression.
Steve Hunt, an employer who provided input to the development of both the Foundation degree framework specification and the Liverpool Foundation degree, has since used the qualification to support the development of his staff. Responding to the successful endorsement, he said: 'I am delighted that the Liverpool Foundation degree has now been endorsed as this strengthens the academic provision in our region. The Fd is a fabulous opportunity for employees to train their staff to a high level whilst still keeping them on the job, enabling engineers to apply their new knowledge 'hands on' to everyday situations.'
SummitSkills chief executive Keith Marshall said: 'SummitSkills welcomes what we hope will be the first of many Foundation degrees to be endorsed as meeting the needs of our sector. Employers tell us they need technician level qualifications which offer the right content and are accessible to members of their existing workforce and we are pleased that this well-designed Foundation degree will enable building services engineers to work towards a qualification that delivers relevant and up-to-date knowledge and skills with minimal disruption to their work.'
Deborah Trayhurn of fdf added: 'Fdf was delighted to operate endorsement of building services engineering Foundation degree provision on behalf of SummitSkills, at Liverpool Community College. FdF has worked with four sector skills councils in offering this service and has considered more than fifty Foundation degrees for endorsement. The process is improving quality as well as enabling higher education institutions to demonstrate that their Fd is truly responsive to employer needs.'
Derek King, senior lecturer in Building Services Engineering at Liverpool John Moores University, said: 'We are very pleased that the Foundation degree, which has run successfully in Liverpool for five years, is professionally recognised in this way. The Foundation degree study route offers the opportunity for engineers to gain a high quality qualification based upon practical experience in the workplace combined with high level academic skills and knowledge. Building services engineering is an increasingly important academic and practical discipline, and good quality graduates are vital in the drive for sustainability in the built environment, and in addressing the environmental challenges facing the UK and the world.'
Steve Wynn, Head of Liverpool Community College's construction section, said: 'Five years ago we set out to develop a Foundation Degree (in conjunction with local and national employers) which provided both the high level academic skills expected of a professional qualification and the applied skills required by our students' employers. Accreditation by the professional institution provided assurance that the academic and technical skills were being met by the qualification but that was only half the picture. The introduction of the endorsement process by SummitSkills gave us the opportunity to have our Fd measured against its fitness for purpose for the needs of our industry.'
Foundation degrees are standalone qualifications, but they can be supported by opportunities for academic progression. Liverpool John Moores University offers two routes to progress beyond the Foundation degree level in the form of the BEng (Hons) Building Services Engineering
and a BSc (Hons) Building Services Engineering Project Management
For further information visit www.summitskills.org.uk/fds
or contact Catherine Elliott on 07725 202944 or email email@example.com
. For more information about Liverpool Community College visit www.liv-coll.ac.uk