Plugging the skills gap

20 May 2013

Developing the skills required by industry isn’t simply about nurturing young talent. It is as much about retaining existing skills and providing training throughout the working life, regardless of age or demographics. BCAS (British Compressed Air Society) comments

We are constantly reminded in the news of the need to recruit and retain more young people in to engineering roles to help fill the growing skills’ gap.

Apprenticeships are one way in which industry is helping to develop the talent required, which backed by a £1.5 billion investment from government in this financial year is seeing some employers opting for on-the-job training schemes over traditional qualifications.

In fact, in a recent survey of 500 businesses by ICM research, respondents indicated that they rated qualified apprentices 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

However, developing the required skill set isn’t confined to the young; it is as much about retaining existing skills and providing training throughout the working life, regardless of age or demographics.   

According to the European Commission, the scale of current economic and social change, the rapid transition to a knowledge based society and pressures resulting from an ageing population in Europe are all challenges that demand a new approach to education and training, within the framework of lifelong learning.

Lifelong learning is defined as 'all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competence, within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective'.

It’s also about providing second chances to update basic skills and to offer opportunities at more advanced levels.  All this means that formal systems of provision need to become much more open and flexible, so that such opportunities can truly be tailored to the needs of the learner, or indeed the potential learner.

The British Compressed Air Society (BCAS) has for many years offered high quality training courses, helping members and their clients (both individuals and businesses) to develop their knowledge and skills in compressed air systems.

All BCAS courses provide the underpinning knowledge needed to ensure that users have the most cost effective and efficient compressed air system.  Its certificated courses are product neutral and designed to compliment the training typically provided by manufacturers and their authorised distributors. 

From 'Compressed Air System Technology' to ‘Diploma in Compressed Air Management’ and 'Safe Use of Compressed Air’ to 'Competent Examiner', BCAS handles a wide range of courses and can tailor its approach to suit individual needs. 

BCAS courses can be conducted online, face-to-face or through distance learning so that users can choose the best format to fit in to their work schedule.  Training can take place at one of a number of centres in the UK or, if it is more convenient, group training can be carried out the company’s premises. 

Working in partnership with the Virtual College, BCAS has created a number of accredited e-learning courses. Founded in 1995, Virtual College is a UK leader in e-learning, online learning and blended learning.  It works with some of the largest companies and public sector organisations in the UK, as well as providing e-learning to tens of thousands of individual learners.

Supporting the new generation

Compressed air is used in thousands of applications and is vital to the productivity of industries around the globe. Compressed air engineers have transferable skills; rewarding and challenging work; competitive salaries and good career progression.

If you are interested in developing the skills of your engineers or would like to take advantage of the variety of training resources available from BCAS, please visit to find out more.