The SHE technician apprenticeship is a level three qualification (the equivalent of two A Levels). Completion of the two-year course will enable apprentices to start their career as a safety and health professional and join IOSH at TechIOSH level.
It was spearheaded by a working group comprising Balfour Beatty, Costain, High Speed 2, Mitie, Morrison Utilities, Permission Homes, Sapa UK, Sisk, Skanska and Thames Water, to address the impact that technological innovations are having on business working practices.
Their work was supported by IOSH, Unite the Union and others.
The Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) approved the course earlier this year and some apprenticeships have already begun. A further 160 trainees are due to begin theirs in the coming months. Two of these will be working with highway engineering provider A-one+, a joint venture between Costain, Colas and Jacobs, from September.
On its website, the IFA says SHE technicians “will assist to develop, review and check on the implementation of safe systems of work, deliver training (e.g. toolbox talks and inductions), investigate incidents, analyse data and present findings to the management team”.
Apprentices will learn while they earn, dividing their time between doing off-the-job training (20%), office work and fieldwork, “providing advice to others on how to work without harming themselves or others”.
Employers with a payroll over £3m can claim funding from the apprenticeship levy.
Ian Nixon, highway and nuclear sector SHE manager at Costain, said: “Technological innovation is transforming the workplace across every industry. Every business is placing a premium on those employees who have the expertise and abilities to assess the operational risks of these new technologies and implement steps to ensure that staff can manage them safely and securely. That is why, in partnership with colleagues from across many different sectors, we have developed England’s first SHE apprenticeship.
“This new scheme will equip trainees with the knowledge, expertise and skills needed to mitigate safety risks and help businesses manage any areas of potential harm to employees.”