Trailblazing employers and leading providers set the standard for new Apprenticeships ahead of the 2017 reform

Apprenticeship Standard, Science Manufacturing Technician apprentices

Leading science industry employers are celebrating this week following the successful enrolment of the first apprentice cohort on revolutionary new Apprenticeship Standards. Lotte Chemical UK, based on Teesside is amongst the first employers to embrace a new Apprenticeship Standard; Science Manufacturing Technician with apprentices starting on these new standards for the first time.

Developed by the employers with Cogent as part of the Government’s Trailblazer initiative, the new Apprenticeship Standards are more closely aligned to the specific occupational requirements of science-based companies, and in 2017 will completely replace current Apprenticeship Frameworks.

The Trailblazer concept first came to light following the publication of the Richard Review which set out the future of Apprenticeships in England. Employers have long pressed for radical changes and innovative approaches that reflect the skills needs of the country’s pioneering science economy.

Stephen Trillo, HR OD Director describes why Apprenticeship Award winner Lotte Chemical UK became involved in the Trailblazer initiative:

 “We need to attract good young people into our industry which requires us to reach out to the local community to bridge the gap between school and business for young people. Like any business it is important that our existing employees transfer their skills and expertise to the next generation of workers to provide a skilled and talented pipeline of apprentices that will be able to ensure the success of the business now and into the future. This is why Lotte strongly believes an Apprenticeship programme should be at the heart of any company’s Organisational Development Strategy.

Stephen goes on to say:

“We firmly believe that by getting involved in developing new apprenticeship standards to replace existing frameworks via the Trailblazer initiative, it will give people in the region that we operate, the required skills and knowledge through robust and sustainable training programmes that will help companies move forward, maintain competitiveness and enable them to plan their future manpower from a pool of talented, trained and competent people.

This is an exciting opportunity that we must grasp as we now have the ability and support to train and develop apprentices for the industry by the industry.”

Following several months of consultation the standards development is now complete and forward thinking training provider, TTE, based in Middlesbrough, has welcomed its first cohort. TTE’s Partnership Manager Dave Thompson, explains the significance of the new Standards and what it means for the first apprentice cohort:

“This is a huge opportunity for the apprentices to learn and train ‘on the job’ with these progressive and world-leading companies. Alongside the core qualifications and practical skills they will gain, the apprentices will also benefit immensely from working alongside the employers’ experienced and highly skilled workforces. In our experience, truly exceptional vocational learning comes from strong partnerships between employers, training providers and young people. This programme exemplifies how these partnerships can drive forward the new standards.”

Unlike the more traditional approach to Apprenticeship delivery, the new Standards train the apprentice to a job “landing role”—the job the apprentice will undertake once the Apprenticeship has concluded—and not to a level or a prescribed qualification as with the Apprenticeship Frameworks model. Perhaps one of the biggest changes in the new approach is that the competency of the apprentice is measured through assessment in the workplace, so work experience is extremely important, reinforcing on-the-job aspect of the Apprenticeship. Progression is also built into the standards, again training to a job role as opposed to a prescribed level, the ability to include higher education and professional recognition further enhances new Apprenticeship standards.

By partnering with professional bodies during the design stage of the new apprenticeship standards, employers can ensure that every apprentice will have the opportunity to become registered through the Science Council when they complete their training.

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