Blog Archives

Group Horizon is Cyber Essentials Plus Certified

Group Horizon is pleased to announce that it has received Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Cyber Essentials is a set of baseline technical controls produced by the UK Government and security industry to help organisations – large and small – improve their cyber security defences and demonstrate a public commitment to their network security and the standards to which they operate. Fundamentally, the scheme addresses the most common internet-based attacks that use widely available tools and that need very little skill for the attacker to use. 

Cyber Essentials requires organisations to have a number of technical and procedural controls in place to improve their information security in order to mitigate common internet-borne cyber-attacks. Cyber Essentials Plus is a series of tests that provide a further level of assurance that these technical controls have been successfully implemented within an organisation.

Group Horizon has undergone an audit of its IT system by one of Cyber Essentials’ highly trained assessors and can now declare publicly, that the company has been proven to meet baseline security standards set out by Cyber Essentials Plus.

Group Horizon Managing Director Karen Nichols said: “Having already achieved the Cyber Essentials standard we decided we wanted to take our commitment to cyber security one step further and Cyber Essentials Plus is the audited version of the Cyber Essentials information security standard. We are extremely happy to have received this top-level certification so that our clients can be reassured our IT systems are protected by the very best cyber security.”

Cyber Essentials Plus

Group Horizon shortlisted for CIBSE Building Performance Award

Group Horizon shortlisted for CIBSE Building Performance Award

Group Horizon has been named as a finalist in the 2024 CIBSE Building Performance Awards.

The prestigious awards celebrate and recognise the very best people, products and projects that demonstrate engineering excellence in the built environment and are the only industry awards that focus on measured performance outcomes and not just design intent or performance specifications.

With the winners announced at an awards evening taking place on 29 February 2024 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Group Horizon has been named on the shortlist in the ‘Learning and Development’ category in recognition for its work in successfully delivering apprenticeships that meet the needs of the building services industry.

The building services industry is seeking to achieve ambitious targets on the journey to Net Zero but for many years has suffered from a lack of specialist training. This, coupled with a skills shortage, which has plagued certain areas of the industry for many years, means that achievement of these targets begins to look increasingly unlikely.

As a national training provider, Group Horizon has sought to meet these challenges head on by engaging with the industry and embarking on a journey to deliver a series of niche apprenticeships which address the need to attract and train new entrants to the market and provide a solution to the long-term skills shortage in the industry.

Commenting on Group Horizon’s shortlisting for the Awards, Peter Behan, Group Horizon Director said: “We’re delighted to be named on the shortlist in the Learning and Development category. In delivering these apprenticeships we have enabled learners to develop relevant and desirable skills that are valued by employers across the UK and it’s a testament to our team that we are consistently recognised as a leading provider of industry specific training.”

Group Horizon at Smart Buildings Show 2023

Group Horizon at Smart Buildings Show 2023

Following a successful show in 2022, Group Horizon is returning to Smart Buildings Show at ExCeL, London on 18th-19th October 2023.

Smart Buildings Show is the UK’s leading exhibition and conference dedicated to the smart buildings industry and provides visitors with the information they need to arrive at an informed decision on how to make their buildings more economic for owners and more functional for occupiers.

The show features a wide range of CPD-accredited training sessions from some of the top names in the industry as well an exhibition hall packed full of leading vendors.

Group Horizon offers courses and apprenticeships that offer a gateway into the flourishing smart building sector, including the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship Level 4 and the Data Analyst Apprenticeship Level 4. As a national training provider, Group Horizon invests heavily in research and curriculum development to ensure that these programmes are delivered to meet the needs of employers and the smart buildings market.

Come and visit Group Horizon on Stand A25 to learn more about industry focused training courses and apprenticeships.

To book your free ticket(s) for Smart Buildings Show, click here.

Group Horizon Celebrates Renewed Matrix Accreditation

Group Horizon celebrates renewed Matrix accreditation

Group Horizon has once again achieved Matrix accreditation after meeting stringent assessment criteria.

The Matrix standard is recognised within the sector as the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and guidance (IAG). Having held Matrix accreditation for the past 10 years, Group Horizon has been consistently recognised as a leading IAG provider and is committed to upholding the highest possible standards by benchmarking against best practice.

The matrix Standard comprises four elements:

  • Leadership and Management

  • Resources

  • Service Delivery

  • Continuous Quality Development

In order to achieve accreditation, an independent assessor must confirm that all criteria are met. As the Matrix standard is an outcome-based standard, the assessor will not only look at the processes used to support delivery but also at the results achieved. Primary evidence is collected through interviews with individuals directly involved in delivery and those affected by it.

Group Horizon’s latest Matrix assessment took place across two days and closely examined the organisation’s approach to supporting learners, employees, partners and employers in providing information, advice and guidance.

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, commented: “We are delighted to have again secured Matrix accreditation and it’s a testament to the outstanding efforts of our team that we will be able to continue to proudly display the Matrix quality mark. Thank you to everyone involved in the accreditation process as well as our exceptional learners and employers.”

Group Horizon Wins Training Award for Second Year Running

Group Horizon wins training award for second year running

For the second year in a row Group Horizon has won the Contribution to Training Award at the BCIA Awards.

As the biggest and best awards programme in the building controls and BEMS industry, the BCIA Awards recognise innovation, product development, project delivery and great training, culminating in a prestigious ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

Facing fierce competition in the form of six other shortlisted finalists, Group Horizon once again claimed the Contribution to Training Award in recognition of its work in successfully delivering the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Controls Engineer Apprenticeship Level 4 and helping to bring through the controls engineers of tomorrow.

Group Horizon Director Peter Behan collected the trophy on the night of the ceremony and commented: “We are thrilled to have picked up this award for the second year running. The BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship programme continues to go from strength to strength and Group Horizon are proud to be able to deliver technical training to the next generation of learners.”

More information on the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship can be found here.


Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, discusses the company’s commitment to support the prevention of Extremism and Radicalisation.

The current threat from Terrorism and Extremism in the United Kingdom is real and severe and can involve the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children and young people.

Radicalisation is defined as the process by which people come to support terrorism and extremism and, in some cases, to then participate in terrorist groups. Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

PREVENT is a key part of the Government’s strategy to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Early intervention is at the heart of PREVENT in diverting people away from being drawn into terrorist activity. The PREVENT strategy objectives are:

  • Ideology: respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat we face from those who promote it.

  • Individuals: prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support

  • Institutions: work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation which we need to address.

All staff should have an awareness of the PREVENT agenda and the various forms of radicalisation takes in being able to recognise signs and indicators or concern and respond appropriately.

There is no such thing as a ‘typical extremist’ and those involved in extremism come from a range of backgrounds and experiences. A variety of indicators may help to identify factors that suggest a young person or their family may be vulnerable or involved with extremism, including an identity crisis, where an individual may seem uncomfortable with their place in the society around them. Local community tensions and events affecting an individual’s country or region of origin can also have an effect, as well as a rejection of civic life and involvement in criminal activity.

Any identified concerns as the result of observed behaviour or reports of conversations to suggest that the young person supports terrorism and/or extremism, must be reported to the named designated safeguarding professional immediately and no later than the end of the working day.

Where a young person is thought to be at risk of significant harm, or where investigations need to be carried out (even though parental consent may be withheld), a referral to Children’s Social Care should be made in line with the company’s Safeguarding Policy. However, it should be recognised that concerns of this nature, in relation to violent extremism, are most likely to require a police investigation (as part of the Channel process).

Channel referral process

Some concerns which are identified may have a security dimension to them. For this reason, it is important that liaison with the police forms an early part of all investigations. Police will carry out an initial assessment and, if appropriate, set up a multiagency meeting to agree actions for supporting the individual. If it is deemed that there are no concerns around radicalisation, appropriate and targeted support will be considered for the young person.

External speakers

Due to the nature of our business and the delivery methods we use, GHL would not normally engage with external speakers. However, in the unlikely event we do decide to invite someone in we would always adhere to a strict set of principles to ensure the safeguard of our learners and employees. GHL employees are briefed to ensure that external speakers are made aware of our policy prior to any guest speaking with learners and follow the guidance set out in that policy. Any speaker that may be deemed to cause reputational risk to GHL or our partners will not be permitted to speak to or interact with learners.

PREVENT happens before any criminal activity takes place. It is about recognising, supporting and protecting people who might be susceptible to radicalisation.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, highlights the company’s commitment to creating a diversity strategy of which equal opportunities is a part.

Diversity recognises that we are all different and involves building an environment where people are respected as individuals and where their diverse range of views, perceptions, qualities, experiences, and contributions are valued. Diversity is about the culture and environment of work and whilst equality and diversity are different concepts, equality is an essential ingredient in achieving diversity.

The principle of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity applies equally to the treatment of employees, learners, visitors, clients, customers, and suppliers. Our intention at Group Horizon is that both our staff and our learners reflect the diversity of our nation’s population.

All staff and learners have the right to be free from harassment and bullying of any description or from any other form of unwanted behaviour whether based on gender, trans- gender status, race, disability, age, political or religious belief or sexuality.

Types of discrimination

Discrimination can come in a range of forms and some are not always immediately obvious:

Direct – Putting a person at a disadvantage for a reason related to one or more of the following grounds: gender, marital status, gender reassignment, ethnic or national origin, religion, belief, trade union membership, political affiliation, part- time or fixed term status, age, or disability.

Harassment – where unwanted physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct occurs which has the purpose or the effect of, affecting a worker or a learners dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Indirect – less obvious discriminatory treatment i.e. where an individual is subjected to an unjustified provision, criterion or practice which puts them at a particular disadvantage because of their gender, marital status, gender reassignment, ethnic or national origin, nationality, race, colour, sexual orientation, religious belief, trade union membership, part time or fixed time status, age, or disability.

Victimisation – treating a person less favourably than another on the grounds that he/she has taken legal rights against discrimination or to assist a colleague in some way.

The objective is to address situations positively and timely and correct them, so early advice of situations is far better than allowing them to deteriorate beyond a point where remedial action can be taken.

Positive Discrimination

Positive action in recruitment and promotion can be used where an employer reasonably thinks that people with a protected characteristic are under-represented in the workforce, or suffer a disadvantage connected to that protected characteristic.

In practice it allows an employer faced with making a choice between two or more candidates who are of equal merit to take into consideration whether one is from a group that is disproportionately under-represented or otherwise disadvantaged within the workforce. This is sometimes called either a ‘tie-breaker’ or the ‘tipping point’. However, this kind of positive action is only allowed where it is a proportionate way of addressing the under-representation or disadvantage.

Remember, all staff and learners have an equal chance to contribute and to achieve their potential.

For further information please visit Group Horizon’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy here

Group Horizon celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Group Horizon celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Leading training provider Group Horizon is celebrating National Apprenticeship Week, which takes place 6-12 February 2023 and provides an ideal opportunity for the education and skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy.

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, believes that organisations should view taking on an apprentice as an investment that will help to address skills gaps, upskill the workforce and drive the business forward. He commented: “Apprenticeships can offer individuals the necessary skills and knowledge to embark on a fulfilling career within their chosen industry, whilst at the same time allowing employers to take on and retain highly skilled, ambitious operatives. There are many benefits that come from investing in quality training – apprentices become motivated, bringing fresh and innovative skills and knowledge to the business.”

Recognised as an industry leader in training and apprenticeships for the building controls sector, Group Horizon won the highly coveted ‘Contribution to Training Award’ at the 2022 Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) Awards, in recognition of its work in delivering the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Controls Engineer Apprenticeship Level 4. The apprenticeship has now passed 100 registrations since it was launched in April 2021.

Edward Fitchett, an Apprentice Controls Technician with Johnson Controls, described his experience on the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship so far: “When I first began my apprenticeship I didn’t have much knowledge on the industry, but the mix of training and on the job work gave me a really strong start. There’s a wide range of engineers and other apprentices to work with, who all have different specialties and levels of experience within the industry, so there’s always someone to talk to for advice no matter the issue.

Peter Behan added: “Apprenticeships are for everyone and provide a proven route into skilled employment, offering an opportunity to earn while you learn, gain valuable work experience and pursue a successful career in your chosen field.”

Group Horizon specialises in a range of training programmes, for both new recruits and existing employees, which are tailored to specific job roles within businesses to assist growth and increase productivity. The programmes have been developed for businesses by businesses, enabling learners to develop relevant and desirable skills that are valued by employers across the UK.

Peter Behan concluded: “We are delighted to support National Apprenticeship Week, which has become an important date in the industry calendar. Businesses that have previously taken on apprentices recognise the value they can offer and the swift return on investment that can be achieved.”

Note to editors

A national training provider, Group Horizon offer a range of specialist training programmes which include Apprenticeships, Functional Skills, Jobseeker Short Courses and Workforce Development Programmes.

Their fully accredited qualifications are delivered by specialist assessors who each bring a wealth of experience in their chosen field. Group Horizon invest heavily in research and curriculum development to ensure that all of their programmes are delivered to meet the needs of employers and the market ensuring the best support is given for the professional journey of each individual.

For further information about Group Horizon please contact Keystone Communications:            

Russell Drury, Tel: 01733 308992, Email:

Michael Crane, Tel: 01733 308992, Email:

The Importance of Safeguarding

The Importance of Safeguarding

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, gives an overview on the importance of Safeguarding and its increased relevance to the modern workplace.

You will almost certainly have heard the term ‘safeguarding’, but are you aware of what it means? It is likely that you have often heard it applied to the care of children, but it applies equally to adults. Safeguarding policies and procedures, in line with legislation, are an integral part of any organisation. Safeguarding is important as it protects the most vulnerable groups in society. These groups are entitled to live a safe and happy life, free from discrimination or exploitation. This promotes mutual respect and tolerance, in accordance with British Values.

The Care Act 2014 provides a legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the health and care system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Most of the principles and procedures that apply are the same as those for safeguarding children and young people.

Everyone’s responsibility

One of the most important aspects of safeguarding is an understanding that it is everyone’s responsibility. Within an organisation, certain people may have specifically designated roles related to safeguarding but everyone is responsible for taking action if they believe or are told that someone has been put at risk.

There are six overarching principles that underpin safeguarding of children, young people and adults, which any organisation that has a responsibility for safeguarding must adhere to and promote. These are: ​

Empowerment: This principle means that people are offered the correct support, which enables them to make their own decisions and give fully informed consent.​

Prevention: This principle maintains the notion that it is better to take action before harm occurs. This enables interventions to be put into place to protect individuals before they are put at risk which may have otherwise been avoided.​

Proportionality: This principle applies to the degree of response that is applied when a risk has been identified. The response must be the least intrusive one that is possible to apply, whilst still ensuring the safety of the individual.​

Protection: This principle maintains that support and advocacy for those in greatest need must be provided at any time when there is a risk of harm.​

Partnership: This principle relates to the working together of services within communities in order to ensure that abuse and neglect are prevented, detected and reported.​

Accountability: This principle means that anyone who is involved in safeguarding practice must be accountable for their actions and that all safeguarding practices must be transparent.

Highest quality of life

Safeguarding prevents the impairment of the health and development of individuals. This is because it promotes a way of living that ensures the highest quality of life for people who may otherwise be at risk of experiencing harm, neglect, isolation and the associated difficulties with mental health and wellbeing that can occur as a result of any of these factors.​

Finally, safeguarding is crucial because it promotes the best outcomes for individuals by the use of preventative measures and appropriate actions that are taken in a timely way to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring or to prevent it from continuing both in the short and long term.

An open culture

Group Horizon takes seriously its duty of pastoral care and is proactive in seeking to prevent young persons and adults at risk becoming the victims of abuse or neglect. It does this in a number of ways, such as:

  • Through the creation of an open culture which respects all individuals’ rights and discourages bullying and discrimination of all kinds including cyber-bullying.
  • By identifying a member of the SMT who will lead and have overall responsibility for safeguarding young people.
  • By informing young people of their rights to be free from harm and encouraging them to talk to Group Horizon Ltd staff if they have any concerns.

BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship passes 100 registrations

BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship passes 100 registrations

Group Horizon, the specialist training provider, has announced that more than 100 apprentices have now registered for the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Controls Engineer Apprenticeship since it was first launched in April 2021.

The Apprenticeship was launched in partnership with the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) following a culmination of over four years of hard work by the Trailblazer Employer Group to address an industry-wide shortage of BEMS Controls Engineers. The seventh cohort of apprentices began their training in November 2022 taking the total number to 112.

Building Controls is a fast growing market with numerous opportunities for skilled engineers. The BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship offers a balance of technical training and on the job assessments to match the needs and requirements of the apprentice’s employer.

Some of the apprentices on the programme have described how they have found their experience so far. Josh Parkin, Assistant Building Management Systems Engineer at Durham University, said: “What attracted me to the BEMS and controls industry was the ability to manage field equipment such as heating, ventilation, cooling and hot water from an automatic system and how much energy saving it can achieve. I am enjoying the apprenticeship and have found it beneficial in my day-to-day role at work by putting what I learn on my course into action.”

Zach Stanley, a BEMS Apprentice with Kendra Energy, said: “I was very attracted to this industry because it allowed me the freedom and the ability to learn in a way I never had before. The hours of learning are in my hands and I can control it. I am able to attend site with another engineer each day and learn a different skill or different part of the system and it is amazing that I am able to have a job and learn at the same time.”

The training programme for the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship can be delivered on the apprentice’s company site and through classroom and/or online learning sessions. It can take up to 36 months to complete.

On the Apprenticeship’s success so far, Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, commented: “100 registrations in less than two years is a significant milestone and we are delighted that we are helping to address what has been a serious issue for the Building Controls sector for some time.”

BCIA President Graeme Rees added: “The BCIA has long recognised that there has been a significant gap in skills and the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship was designed to help fill that gap. To have more than 100 people enrolled on the programme already represents a fantastic success on the part of the employer group that put it together.”

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from - Youtube
Consent to display content from - Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from - Google