The apprenticeship our industry needs is here
The new apprenticeship scheme for lifting equipment engineers, now ‘live’ in England, is based firmly around the needs and expectations of the industry and those going into it says, Ross Moloney, CEO of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA), and chair of the Association, Kat Moss.
The Lifting Equipment Technician apprenticeship will transform the way in which young – as well as the not so young – people are brought into, and developed in, the profession. It is the outcome of several years’ hard work by the Trailblazer team incorporating Lifting Equipment Engineers’ Association (LEEA) members and other industry representatives, colleges and training providers.
Although the detail of the scheme is specific to England, the apprenticeships are based around a standard, which is intended to be of applicable globally, and LEEA is already talking to training regulators and providers in Wales and Scotland, where training is a devolved responsibility, as well as Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.
The Apprenticeship, which is rated as a Level 3, which is ‘A’ level equivalent, is firmly based around the needs and expectations of the industry and those going into it. In line with UK government thinking, this is a decisive move away from the philosophy of ‘old-style’ training, which too often was based around the facilities, staff and other resources that the college or training provider happened to have available, rather than the real training needs of employers and learners. As a result, apprentices often found that a large proportion, up to 70%, of their training was fairly irrelevant, while other more important aspects were not covered at all and required further instruction. This was not workable either for employers or learners.
The new Apprenticeship, by contrast, has been developed not by governments, civil servants or college sales teams, but by the industry itself. It embraces not only task-specific skills, but broader knowledge of engineering, business and other fields, and the ‘softer’ employability skills around values, teamwork and communication. In all, the standard covers 26 ‘knowledge’ requirements, 27 ‘skills’ and 10 ‘behaviours’. Apprentices will come away with specific skills such as how to inspect and repair lifting equipment or assemble slings, but also broader engineering and IT knowledge, an understanding of health and safety, of the commercial implications of their activities and they will acquire abilities in report writing, customer service and much more. The apprenticeship also provides a natural gateway for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) options, such as advanced LEEA training.
Apprenticeships will be of 24 months’ duration and assessment is continuous over the two years, including practical assessments, an evidenced professional discussion (‘show and tell’), and multiple-choice tests. Despite the level of detail covered by the standard, there is considerable scope for flexibility through building a relationship with training providers, recognising that students can benefit from different ways of learning, and that employers may have preferences for particular training formats, such as block release. Training from some providers is available right now and many others are in an advanced stage of preparation.
The scheme has been signed off by the UK’s Permanent Under-Secretary of State so qualifies for government funding in England. The cost of an apprenticeship is capped at £12,000, but in most cases the employer is only liable for 5% of this, ie £600. That isn’t a big bet against the possibility that the newly trained apprentice may either demand more money or leave to join the competition. Indeed, we would argue that the firm is much more likely to lose potential long-term employees if it doesn’t make these modest investments in effective and highly relevant training.
For further information and to sign up, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Watch the LEEA Apprenticeship webinar here: https://leeaint.com/presentation/apprenticeship-webinar-december-2021. For further information on the Lifting Equipment Technician apprenticeship and to sign up, contact email@example.com and for more details about the standard visit: www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/lifting-equipment-technician