John Kilgannon, TRS, at the nationa awards event with wife Maxine
John Kilgannon, operational director of Dartford‐based heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical contractor TRS Ltd, has been honoured for his dedicated support to the process of modernising apprenticeships in the building engineering services industry.
He was one of the first senior industry figures to receive a special ‘Trailblazer’ award from the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) at its first national awards event in London this month.
The new Trailblazer framework for apprenticeships was launched by the government in 2014 with the aim of creating a more flexible system that would encourage more young people to take up careers in technical professions and help existing workers – of all ages – improve their skills and qualifications.
BESA is working with employers right across the built environment industry to develop apprenticeships in key technical sectors including: installation; service & maintenance; heating and plumbing; ductwork; ventilation hygiene; refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps; and has also started work on developing apprenticeships at higher and degree level.
A survey carried out by BESA’s training department found that 83% of apprentices believed their career prospects had improved because of securing a place on an apprenticeship scheme. 70% of employers said their productivity, and therefore business growth, was improved by taking on apprentices and every £1 of taxpayers’ money invested in apprenticeships at levels 2 and 3 will pay
back between £26 and £28 in long‐term economic benefits.
“Apprenticeships work by boosting economic productivity, growing our skills base and giving millions a leg up on the ladder of opportunity,” said BESA’s training director Tony Howard. “However, we are completely dependent on volunteers like John to help us develop these new style apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the type of modern skills needed by employers in our sector.”
TRS was set up in 1980 by chairman Satnam Dhaliwal and business has been growing ever since. It provides tailored building engineering services for clients in both the public and private sectors
including a range of new project and facilities management services.
The senior management team took the decision to start a construction division in 2005 and this was swiftly followed by diversification into the rail sector. TRS then expanded its heating, electrical and
projects capability in 2008.
John’s long experience of 35 years and specialist expertise was ideal for helping the team developing the service engineer Trailblazer on behalf of the whole industry.
“A modern apprenticeship goes much further than just developing technical skills,” he said. “We have made sure that the content of the new service engineer Trailblazer focuses on all aspects of modern working including communication skills. Apprentices should also learn about the conduct expected of them when representing their employer.
“Attitude and the way someone behaves is hugely important and has probably not received the attention it should have in the past,” added John. “It was very rewarding to be able to focus on this and all aspects of training as part of the Trailblazer process.”
TRS chairman Satnam Dhaliwal added that John’s work on Trailblazers was in tune with the company’s ethos of putting the community first and creating opportunities for all.
“There has never been a greater need for this kind of targeted training as the industry responds to tough new quality standards and the UK‐wide skills shortage,” he said. “We are extremely proud that John was invited to support this effort and to represent TRS in this way”.
“One of the great positives about Trailblazers is that they offer opportunities for people at all stages of their careers to improve their skills – whether they be straight out of school or already have some
industry experience, but are looking to improve and add to their abilities,” said Satnam.
“That flexibility will make apprenticeships attractive to a wider range of people from more diverse backgrounds and will be key to their success.”