The Sector Skills Council for the places where we live and work
Asset Skills, the Sector Skills Council for property, housing, facilities management and cleaning is about to welcome the parking industry into its fold.
A partnership agreement will be signed on 11 March between Asset Skills and the British Parking Association (BPA) to help advance skills in this sector.
As the SSC for the places where we live and work, Asset Skills will be an ideal partner for the parking sector.
"We are delighted to add the parking industry to our footprint and look forward to working closely with the British Parking Association," said Richard Beamish, Chief Executive of Asset Skills.
"The BPA has already begun the process of ensuring a more highly skilled workforce and we will support this and help wherever we can."
The BPA's long-term commitment to the skills agenda, as unveiled in the UK Parking Sector Skills Strategy in 2007, perfectly aligns with the Leitch Review which aims to ensure the UK has world-class skills by 2020.
Asset Skills will work with the parking sector to identify the skills required to meet future demands and to determine how these skills needs will be met.
The alliance will aid the delivery of the skills strategy and the BPA's continual objective of raising standards within the industry.
As part of the growing number of ongoing initiatives to promote and develop skills, the BPA launched the Institute of Parking Professionals (IPP) at last year's Parkex International Exhibition.
The IPP provides a focus for the exchange of views and promotes good practice in parking and traffic management, again helping to raise standards across the industry.
At the heart of the institute is continuous professional development (CPD). CPD allows professionals to take responsibility for their own career and learning experience and ensures they keep up-to-date within a rapidly changing industry.
"It is essential that appropriate qualifications are available for the parking sector as it becomes better recognised as a profession its own right," said Keith Banbury, Chief Executive of the BPA.
"Employers want to attract and retain the best candidates and in today's economic climate that means offering opportunities to grow and develop as well as traditional benefits packages.
"Through the IPP, individuals are supported and encouraged to take responsibility for their careers in parking.
"In partnership with Asset Skills we will be even better placed to continue delivering what both employers and employees are telling us they want."
The successes of the skills agenda to date include developing a City & Guilds level 2 certificate for civil enforcement officers. This would show that certificate holders have the skills and knowledge laid out in the civil parking enforcement regulations, that come into force at the end of this month.
The parking control suite of national occupational standards was updated in 2007 so now covers CCTV enforcement as well as parking control, barrier and pay station control, vehicle immobilisation and vehicle removal.
The standards are also linked to the level 2 NVQ in Controlling Parking Areas.Work is now underway to develop standards for notice processing and office staff. Developed by industry experts, national occupational standards will form the foundation for future qualifications.