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Employer working group addresses ‘real need’ for new health and safety apprenticeship

The UK Department for Education has approved a new safety, health and environment (SHE) apprenticeship as part of the government’s “Trailblazer” initiative.

Image credit: iStock/sturti

The need for a dedicated apprenticeship programme was raised at the London Health and Safety Directors Forum recently. 

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has facilitated setting up an employer’s working group – SHE Apprenticeship Trailblazer – to address this gap in the market, while construction and civil engineering firm Costain has volunteered to lead it.  

The working group includes representatives from Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Sisk, Persimmon Homes, Morrison Utilities, High Speed 2, Thames Water, Mitie and Sapa UK, but it is also seeking support from organisations outside the construction and engineering sector. The National Theatre, as well as emergency services, nuclear operators and specialist assessment bodies, have already come forward.  

Extra support is being provided by bodies including IOSH, CITB, Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, Engineering Construction Industry Association, and Unite the Union. 

IOSH member Ian Nixon, who is Costain’s highways sector SHE manager and co-director of the company’s SHE Academy development programme, is chairing the working group. 

He said: “The high level of interest from a wide range of industries regarding the new SHE apprenticeship has been fantastic and shows there is a real need for this across the country.

“Whilst the employer group has its roots with CITB in the construction sector, the core SHE apprenticeship will be suitable for any sector with pathways leading from the core elements to specialise in a particular sector, therefore we have been pleased to welcome members from a range of backgrounds.”

The expression of interest to set up the SHE apprenticeship was made to Trailblazers in January and the minister of state for apprenticeships and skills, Robert Halfon, approved it last month.

The Trailblazer programme allows groups of employers to join together to design apprenticeships that develop the skills of their current and future workforces.

From tomorrow (6 April), employers with a wage bill exceeding £3m will be required to contribute to the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, which will be used to fund new apprenticeships.


Keeley Downey was the former assistant editor of IOSH Magazine. Previously she was editor of Biofuels International, Bioenergy Insight and Tank Cleaning Magazine


  • This is marvellous news. The

    Permalink Submitted by Mike Flannery on 7 April 2017 - 02:59 pm

    This is marvellous news. The opportunity to design from the ground up, a significant and meaningful pathway to take those engaged in the 'on the ground' management and guidance of good safety practice is to be welcomed. I'm sure that all those involved will ensure this does not become a glorified way of achieving a Level 3 qualification over 12 months , which as we all appreciate is the starting point rather than the destination industry needs. A solid 3-year programme including practial experience in support of a theoretical Level 6 qualification is what industry needs. I applaud those involved stepping up to the plate to deliver a 'proper' apprenticeship.

  • I have had a trainee health

    Permalink Submitted by Great to address this gap! on 7 April 2017 - 07:36 pm

    I have had a trainee health and safety post in my team for the last 3 years and has proved to be a real asset. My trainee is now 22 with vast experience and has just passed her NEBOSH Diploma ....she has the world at her feet. Great to bring some fresh young blood in to the profession. Good to show how positive a career in health and safety can be. Good luck - will watch with real interest.

  • Wonderful news, Safety,

    Permalink Submitted by Chris McMahon on 10 April 2017 - 12:15 pm

    Wonderful news, Safety, Health and Environment actually being recognised and promoted as a career option from apprenticeship level.

  • Yes a good step forward.

    Permalink Submitted by Robin Dobson on 21 April 2017 - 09:52 am

    Yes a good step forward. What happens after the apprenticeship? is there going to be an official set of government standards and qualifications similar to the legal profession that Health, Safety, Fire and Access professionals will have to achieve certification against? And will those standards be policed by a competent body that is independent of any training organisations (CITB, IOSH, and the commercial training companies etc.)?
    I am concerned that only organisations with a large internal H&S etc. team will be able to support apprentices in gaining and maintaining the H&S etc. + management + people handling + business management + technical authorship / report writing skills that are essential for a competent H&S etc. professional.


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