Costain has announced the launch of England’s first Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) apprenticeship. The new scheme has been developed to address the impact that changes in technology and innovation are having on business working practices and to offer an entry level apprenticeship to enable people to start their career in SHE. It will ensure there is a pipeline of trained staff to manage the associated risks of workplace changes ensuring that employees can continue to work in safe and secure conditions.
The creation of the new qualification was spearheaded by a working group comprising Costain and many other UK businesses and other organisations including HS2, Thames Water, Sapa UK, Mitie, Morrison Utilities, Permission Homes, Sisk, Skanska, and Balfour Beatty. Their work was also supported by experts from the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Unite the Union and others. The first cohort of twenty apprentices have started their apprenticeships in a wide range of companies, including those in the working group. A further 160 are due to commence their apprenticeships in the coming months; two of which will be working with Costain on its A-one+ Joint Venture in Kent starting in September.
The SHE apprenticeship is a level three qualification which is the equivalent of two A Levels and allows apprentices to learn while they earn – 20% of their time will be spent on additional off the job training. Those who start the two-year course will develop an in demand set of skills as they learn how to spot health risks and mitigate safety concerns. Employers gain by expanding the safety knowledge of their business and can reclaim their apprenticeship levy contributions by running this and other apprenticeship schemes.
Ian Nixon, highway and nuclear sector SHE manager Costain, comments:
“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.”
The course will give trainees a general grounding in all aspects of SHE and the working group intends to explore developing industry specific SHE apprenticeship pathways in the future. This will ensure that trainees entering sectors, such as nuclear, develop the skills and understanding of SHE in these fields.