Category: Blog


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

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.

The Future is Bright for BEMS

The Future is Bright for BEMS

Peter Behan of Group Horizon explains how the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship is contributing to the Net Zero challenge.

With the UK’s commitment to net zero carbon by 2050 target set to remain in place with whomever is the next resident of 10 Downing Street, the role that buildings can play in creating a more environmentally friendly future remains as important as ever. It is pleasing to know however that in recent years various industries have taken it upon themselves to clean up their act, target or no target. With buildings accounting for approximately 40% of global carbon emissions, it is a sector that still has plenty to do to reduce its carbon footprint. 

Thankfully, we live in an age where we have the technology available to not only install in new buildings, but also to retrofit in older ones to help better manage their energy efficiency. Also, in a time of corporate ESG (environmental, social, and governance), an organisation’s commitment to environmental sustainability is under the spotlight. ESG criteria are a set of standards for a company’s behaviour used by socially conscious investors to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company safeguards the environment, including corporate policies addressing climate change, for example.

Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) play a fundamental role in ensuring that all of a building’s services, including HVAC, lighting and power systems, are integrated to operate in the most effective manner. The challenge for a BEMS Controls Engineer is knowing how to ensure a building achieves the required level of efficiency.

The technical nature of building controls is a highly specialised area and at Group Horizon we are committed to giving the next generation of BEMS Controls Engineers all of the knowledge, confidence and hands-on training they need to secure a rewarding career in one of the most innovative and fast paced sectors in the built environment.

Our team of specialist tutors are ready to pass on their industry experience through our BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship, which offers a balance of on-the-job assessments and technical training covering all aspects of the building controls industry.

This training programme can take up to 36 months to complete and will be delivered on the apprentice’s company site and through classroom and/or online learning sessions. The Building Controls Industry Association’s (BCIA) technical course modules BCM00-BCM15 are also included as part of the apprenticeship.

To find out more about the BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship click here

Don’t Leave it to Chance

Don’t Leave it to Chance

Peter Behan of Group Horizon explains why companies need to make full use of the data they are generating. With endless possibilities to improve business performance, the key to achieving real results is through data analysis.

Every business generates multiple sets of data, both structured and unstructured, which can be utilised to make informed business decisions – but how can organisations be sure that they are maximising results and extracting the information they really need?

Structured data typically takes the form of organised information sets that are straightforward to analyse. The very nature of this information makes it easier to interpret and therefore more popular with businesses; however, the real challenge, and often the real value, lies in the unstructured data thought to account for around 80% of all business data. Working with unstructured data can be confusing and time-consuming, with no predefined model or framework to assist in extracting actionable insights.

This is where the data analyst comes in.

A qualified data analyst has the skills to obtain meaningful conclusions from unstructured data, summarising findings and using visual presentations to tell the whole story in ways that are straightforward to understand. Having a dedicated analyst on board offers a guarantee that all company data is handled in a secure manner and that the processes involved are fully compliant with the relevant legislation.

Using a wide range of analytics tools and applications, the data analyst can play a vital role in deciding how a company acts on certain issues, helping to firm up future plans and guiding the executive team in the right direction. They are often able to offer data comparisons, decipher hidden trends and give the management team advice on changing operating patterns in order to impact the underlying figures in a positive manner.

Data analysis can help organisations gain valuable insight into the hidden information they have at their fingertips, giving them the confidence to draw definitive conclusions on the future direction of the company. Businesses that ignore the wealth of internally held information available to them increase the risk of making judgments based on incomplete data – the data analyst can ensure that decisions based around the future direction of the company aren’t left to chance.

Responding to the increase in demand for data analysis, Group Horizon has launched a new apprenticeship – the Data Analyst Apprenticeship Level 4. For further information or to register an interest in the course visit:

The Rise of Data Analytics

Peter Behan, Director at Group Horizon, explains why the analysis of data is becoming increasingly important as a means to reduce costs and identify strategies for energy reduction.

Data is now justifiably recognised as a valuable business asset with the potential to shape commercial decisions and determine how organisations are run. But despite the inherent value contained within, data without insight can be practically useless.

This is why data analytics is becoming increasingly widespread and is no longer the sole preserve of large multinationals with substantial spending power. SMEs now have the cost-effective tools and technologies to dive into their data and use it to solve business problems or develop strategies for reducing costs.

The process behind the analysis itself involves gathering, inspecting, cleansing, transforming and modelling data. Once this procedure has been methodically performed by the data analyst, insights and trends can be identified which allow definitive conclusions to be formed and used to support future decision making. The data analyst is, therefore, a highly valued asset to businesses of all sizes, taking on the responsibility to consistently handle company data in a compliant and appropriately secure manner.

With more and more businesses looking to make sense of their data, the data analyst is becoming increasingly sought after, with organisations searching for individuals with the ability to scrutinise and understand the valuable information, before producing insightful reports and visuals. The qualified data analyst will have the expertise to work with different types of data stemming from a host of different departments – from sales data to logistics and inventory figures.

Responding to the increase in demand for data analytics, Group Horizon has launched a new apprenticeship – the Data Analyst Apprenticeship Level 4. Through a mix of webinars, digital delivery, face to face and site visits, the new course will educate individuals on how data can be used to answer questions and solve problems.

Reflecting the diverse techniques and approaches used in data analysis, the apprenticeship covers key topics such as data structures, data preparation, datamining, forecasting and modelling, dashboards and infographics, policy and legislation, analysis, reporting and interactivity, and continuing professional development.

For further information or to register an interest in the course visit: 

Apprenticeship Myth Busting

Peter Behan explores the myths which surround apprenticeships and debunks some common misconceptions.

  • Apprentices are for school leavers

Apprenticeships are for everyone and 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. Apprenticeships can also be entered into at any age and are not just for those starting out on their career path.

  • Apprentices don’t earn very much

Apprentices must receive at least the national minimum wage and a great number of employers choose to pay more than this.

Over the long-term, individuals with an advanced apprenticeship earn between £77,000 and £117,000 more across their lifetime than similar individuals with Level 2 qualifications. It’s also not uncommon for apprentices to end up earning more than their graduate counterparts, plus they typically won’t have loans to pay back.

  • Apprenticeships don’t lead to a full-time job

Many companies choose to employ apprentices once their course has been successfully completed and over 90% of apprentices either remain in employment or continue their learning.

  • Apprenticeships don’t cover the areas that matter most to employers

Apprenticeship standards are now developed by a number of organisations who work together to create learning material that will provide the individual with the knowledge and expertise to succeed. Therefore, when an individual completes their course they possess a skillset employers are specifically looking for.

  • Apprentices are only given menial work to do

Apprenticeships are full time paid jobs and most cover a wide range of tasks, including areas of the business where there are clear skills gaps. Most organisations recognise the benefits of offering opportunities to get to know different areas of the business. According to research, a quarter of former apprentices (23%) secure a promotion within 12 months of qualifying.

  • Businesses are not currently taking apprentices on

Following a tough couple of years, many businesses have detailed plans in place to expediate future growth. New starter levels are now rising steadily and there has been a noticeable uptick in apprenticeship interest from businesses and individuals.

  • Employers don’t value apprenticeships

Apprentices are proven to add value to a business, often filling skills gaps and bringing fresh perspective to a role. Furthermore, studies have suggested that apprenticeships boost productivity and employers believe that former apprentices are 15% more employable than those with other qualifications.

Building a Better Future

Building a better future

With National Apprenticeship Week still fresh in the memory it’s an opportune time to examine how 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.

The theme of National Apprenticeship Week 2022 was ‘Build the Future’ (allied to the fundamental messages featured in the Build Back Better campaign), encouraging all parties to consider the ways in which apprenticeships can help individuals, employers, local communities, and the wider economy.

For employers, taking on an apprentice should be viewed as an investment in the future of the organisation – an ideal opportunity to address skills gaps, upskill the workforce and prepare for the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead. Investing in a workforce helps to retain talent and apprentices gain the all-important skills and knowledge needed to drive your business forward, taking on the values of the company and contributing to the development of a confident, dynamic workforce with future-ready skills. Businesses that have previously taken on apprentices recognise the value they can offer and the swift return on investment that can be achieved.

After a tough couple of years, many businesses now have detailed plans in place as part of a nationwide effort to expediate a return to something approaching normality. Apprentices are a driving force in the campaign the build back stronger, with new starter levels rising steadily and a noticeable uptick in interest from businesses and individuals.

Following a week of positive messaging and apprenticeship success stories there is clearly plenty of momentum behind the apprenticeship movement and whether you are looking to take on an apprentice or to start an apprenticeship yourself, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Group Horizon apprenticeships are for both new recruits and existing employees and can help businesses meet skills demands whilst maintaining efficiency and competitiveness. View the full range of Group Horizon run apprenticeships at:

Make a Fresh Start in 2022

Make a fresh start in 2022

Peter Behan, Director of Group Horizon, encourages those looking to take the next step in their building controls career to consider a BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship.

If you currently work in the BEMS industry you may already be aware of the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Controls Engineer Apprenticeship being delivered by Group Horizon. Run in partnership with the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA), the apprenticeship is directly addressing the well-documented industry shortage of BEMS controls engineers and bringing through a new generation of highly skilled operatives. But if you’re already familiar with the building controls industry, why should you take more of an interest in in training?

As energy prices continue to rise and show no sign of slowing down, improving energy efficiency will remain high on the agenda for business owners and building operators. One of the knock-on effects will be increased demand for highly skilled, adaptable engineers familiar with the latest building technologies and capable of integrating smart solutions into the built environment.

With new efficient building technologies emerging on a regular basis, energy management systems and solutions are no longer viewed as expensive extravagances but are essential long-term investments which help drive down costs and improve the wellbeing of building occupants. A new generation of skilled engineers is needed more than ever before and there is now fresh impetus to deliver the necessary training and ensure we have the talented individuals needed to deliver the buildings of tomorrow. Put simply, there has never been a better time to get involved and upskill in this exciting and dynamic industry.

The Group Horizon run apprenticeship offers a balance of on-the-job assessments and technical training delivered on the apprentice’s company site and through classroom and/or online learning sessions. All aspects of the industry are covered, including Controls Hardware and Logic; Field Devices; Networking; Communication Protocols and Supervisor Software and on successful completion of the programme, individuals will receive the Level 4 Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) Controls Engineer Apprenticeship. In addition, on successful completion of technical modules BCM01 – 03 apprentices will receive the BCIA Technical Certificate and the BCIA Advanced Technical Certificate on successful completion of BCM04 – 06. Apprentices will also be eligible to apply for an Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) Building Controls card at Associate or Integrator Level (depending on level of experience) on completion of specific BCIA technical training modules.

With the first two cohorts now underway and a third about to start, demand for places on this apprenticeship is high. To register your interest please visit:

Developing the Buildings of the Future

Developing the buildings of the future

The drive to reduce energy consumption and increase efficiency in commercial buildings means that demand for skilled engineers will rise steeply over the coming years. Peter Behan explains how building controls engineers can acquire the necessary skills to meet growing demand for efficient, seamlessly integrated buildings.

As the world strives to reduce its carbon footprint, the importance of efficient building management continues to grow. One of the results of this is that the technology that goes into buildings, whether new-build or retrofit, is becoming more advanced than ever, and its complexity means trained and qualified engineers are required to install it.

Modern legislation and environmental targets have made good building management a priority and the next generation of Building Controls Engineers will be the key drivers in evolving technologies.

Group Horizon offers a full suite of training courses for the Building Controls Industry Association (BCIA) which are designed for those wishing to upskill or start their journey as a Building Controls Engineer.

BCM01, for example, gives an overview of the Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) industry and the systems and technologies used in the control of heating, ventilating and air conditioning, while BCM02 offers comprehensive training on the theory of measuring and control technology and is designed for engineers and technicians who have some knowledge and field experience. BCM03 involves the main water circuits and systems used within the building services controls environment. This course includes the necessary mechanical knowledge needed to understand applications and covers all aspects of valve sizing and control.

Anybody who completes these three courses will be awarded a BCIA Technical Certificate and become eligible for the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme’s Building Controls Integrator ECS card provided the applicant also holds a formal BS7671 qualification in the current edition of the wiring regulations (currently BS7671: 2008, 18th edition) as well as a current (up to date) Health & Safety Certificate or recognised ECS H&S exemption.

A few steps further

After you have successfully completed the BCIA modules BCM01-03 then why not think about going a few steps further and qualifying for an Advanced Technical Certificate? This can be achieved by completing courses BCM04 to BCM06 and gives engineers the opportunity to prove to clients and employers their full understanding of the six building controls subjects which cover Fundamentals of HVAC & Building Technology, Measuring & Control Technology, Hydraulics in Building Systems, Control Function in Heating Plant, Control of Ventilation and Air Conditioning Plant and Control of Cooling Systems.

For anyone looking to embark on a career as a Building Energy Management System (BEMS) Controls Engineer, Group Horizon now offers a three-year technical training programme, which offers a balance of on the job assessments and technical training covering all aspects of the industry. The BEMS Controls Engineer Apprenticeship has been designed to address an industry-wide shortage of BEMS Controls Engineers and includes a series of classroom and/or online sessions covering the technical theory which is included in the BCIA technical course modules BCM00 – BCM15.

The first two Apprenticeship programmes have been fully booked up and the feedback has so far been very positive. Jake Jarram, BEMS Apprentice at Building Controls Specialists Ltd, said: “I have been very impressed with how well structured the modules are in the BCIA course I am completing. The lecturer is very experienced and skilled in the industry, showing a very positive outlook on HVAC and is very keen to pass on their knowledge. 

“When working day-to-day for BCS I have developed a great variety of skills which are invaluable to someone of my age, working in various places and contributing towards the completion of the project/maintenance. I am looking forward to my future in the building controls industry.”

The Building Controls industry is wide and diverse and offers numerous opportunities for skilled engineers. To ensure you stay ahead of the competition and prove your competence in this rapidly expanding market Group Horizon’s specialist tutors, who each bring a wealth of experience in their chosen field, will deliver the training that will ensure the future of our built environment is in safe hands.

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