BMS apprenticeships are a great way to get into the engineering industry, especially for young people. It provides the first step into the engineering career while also expanding their skills in all aspects of the role.
We sat down with 2 of our apprentices who are BMS Service Engineer Apprentices working in our Remote Operations Centre (ROC) for their first part of the apprenticeship before they move onto on-site work.
They tell us about their experience in the ROC and the BMS apprenticeship itself.
What is your name, title and role?
I am Lewis Taylor, BMS Service Engineer Apprentice. My job role now is helping out in the ROC and getting an introduction into the world of the BMS industry. When I first started out, I didn’t know much about the industry, so I am learning along the way to eventually go out and be a service engineer.
I am Max Goodall a BMS Service Engineer Apprentice as well. Currently my job role is learning the basics of the BMS principals and helping the ROC service maintain and maximise their sites.
How long have you worked at learnd and why did you choose to work for us?
Lewis: I’ve worked here for around six months, and I chose to work here because I got told about the role and it seemed like more of a career path than my old job.
Max: I’ve also worked for Learnd for around six months. I chose to work for Learnd after a quick search on the BMS industry, it sounded exciting and interesting. I didn’t know much about BMS at the time however I was referred by a friend, who had nothing but good things to say.
What attracted you to enter an apprenticeship role?
Lewis: When I finished college, I knew straight away, I’m not going to go full time at university. I always wanted to do an apprenticeship. I applied for quite a few of them and this one stuck out to me, with the job itself and the benefits, and getting to take part in the company car scheme is a bonus. So it’s a good place to be.
Max: I did mechanical engineering at college and always wanted to go into an apprenticeship afterward. To witness the optimising and the management of energy in the BMS world is very interesting, especially with the times that we are in. It’s very exciting to be a part of the energy-saving solution.
What attracted you to the BMS industry?
Lewis: After I had researched the industry, it just really interested me about how you can do everything remotely. You can set times and temperatures to basically control an entire buildings on your phone. So that’s pretty cool to say the least.
Max: Once I had researched into it and realised the results of the industry, it was very exciting. I’ve worked in factories before where the lights and heating were controlled via automation. However, at the time I had no idea what was controlling the systems automatically. By being introduced to this Industry I could understand how and why buildings with many electrical appliances would benefit from BMS systems.
How have you found your rotation in the ROC?
Lewis: Everyone’s nice and everyone’s friendly, I’ve met some good friends. Seeing how much money, energy and carbon the ROC actually does save for companies is amazing. So, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m also ready for the change to the other side of our apprenticeship, which would be on-site engineering.
Max: I found it eye opening. I believe it’s helped my integration into the company allowing me to have a wider and more specified view of the BMS world as it’s the remote fixing and we will be doing the on-site fixing so it’s good to have that full perspective of the industry.
What does a typical day consist of for you?
Lewis: We use learnd’s technology platform to get an overview of all the sites that the ROC control and you can see which sites are too hot, which are too cold, which are spending the most money. We go through all the sites and see what remote fixes we can do, which might consist of turning off the lights, checking the schedules, etc.
However, if a remote fix isn’t possible, something else might be wrong like a controller being offline. We then ring the site, try and help them, talk them through rebooting it so we can help them save more money, which is always the aim. Andy, who leads the ROC, might have a specific job for us to do that might look into customer data and change schedules for our clients because they requested it.
Max: Sometimes Service engineers will ring us while they’re on-site and need some assistance. We can help them solve the issues by giving them an overview of the site and occasionally it can be resolved with a remote fix. We also get a view of the equipment on-site with the engineer. When we aren’t working with engineers we mainly go through the various customer’s estates trying to optimise and clear alarms that have alerted our system for a variety of issues such as Fire alarms, Lockout alarms, and overrides.
Do you think there’s anything we or the wider industry can do to encourage more young people to enter the industry?
Lewis: More exposure is needed on the industry, because I went to all my friends when I got this new job: ” I’m a BMS Engineer”, and they go, “What is BMS?” The only other person who actually knew what BMS is was my friend who is an electrician. It would be good to attend career days to introduce the industry to younger people. Not just showcasing the engineering side, which I guess most people think this is.
Max: Promote the industry more. In terms of an online world, it would be great to have a big online presence to explain the industry to younger people and what the industry does and how they can join it. If somebody becomes interested then they can start taking the first steps to look into the British Controls Industry Association (BCIA) It has become bigger with more availability recently and has great new courses and apprenticeships every year.
What advice would you give young people wanting to follow engineering as a career path?
Lewis: Difficult to say, we’re doing it ourselves. If you have a question then ask, everyone here would give me an answer. I was clueless about it at first, but everyone here is so full of knowledge, it’s crazy. Also, just go for it.
Max: My advice is to get an overview of knowledge about the industry. It could take only 5 minutes to be drawn in. The interest becomes real and exciting once you’ve explored it further realising what an effective industry BMS really is.
What has the biggest surprise been since joining the industry?
Lewis: There was one person in the ROC that saved a certain company a total of £1,000,000 through the remote optimisation work they did – the fact that they have done that by themselves is crazy.
Max: The big surprise for me was how universal and large the industry is. I thought of BMS as a niche industry. However it’s everywhere and you see it in most places if you know what you’re looking for, and you can realise how big of a presence BMS has. By being in the ROC you see the money savings and how much money can be wasted on problems that have a very simple solution.
Has being in the ROC for 6 months helped you understand more and helped you learn quicker for when you go into service as an onsite engineer?
Lewis: Definitely, if I was just to be thrown on to site on my first day I would think what is going on. Being in an environment where they’ve used the key terms, I’ve gotten myself used to them. I can go out on the site now and know the terms. It’s been very helpful.
Max: I think it’s been extremely helpful in the ROC as I have developed knowledge and principles of the remote side of the BMS world. Also being in the ROC has helped me develop language for when I’m on site.
Would you recommend a new apprentice coming in to be in the ROC first before going out into the engineering world?
Unless they have prior experience in the BMS industry then yeah. We have found it extremely helpful and now are ready for the next step of the apprenticeship to go into our on site service engineering roles.
Read our other apprentice guest posts: