Apprenticeship academy set to train engineers of the future

Posted on 23 Sep 2015 by Fred Tongue

A modern apprenticeship academy is set to open its doors for the first time next month delivering industry standard training and qualifications.

The Northamptonshire Industrial Training Association Ltd (NITAL) academy will train a new cohort of students across the manufacturing and services sector, with  equipment including mills, lathes and welding equipment, an inspection area and classrooms.

Based in Kettering, NITAL  will deliver qualifications developed by the EAL, who specialise in awards for industry, to full-time learners and apprentices from local firms.

Training academy manager, Dan Barker commented: ““It is very exciting and a bit nerve-wracking but this is a fantastic facility which will help meet the needs of industry for many years to come.

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“The academy is able to deliver a real-life environment in which to do training, using a blended approach with work on the job and the learning within the academy. We are working with more than 100 companies to deliver traditional apprenticeships fitting the needs of modern industry.

“As well as the practical and theoretical work, we will be very much focused on employability skills. For example, learners will be expected to clock in and out every day just as they would in the workplace, with an expectation of meeting all deadlines to the required specifications”

Apprentices from local companies will spend one day a week at the academy working towards their EAL Level 2 and level 3 VRQ (Vocational Related Qualification).

The full-time learners will undergo an induction in health and safety before undertaking their EAL Performance Engineering Operations Level 2 – designed to cover the fundamental skills and knowledge common to all engineering practices that are part of the apprenticeship framework – within the academy from mid-October.

Barker continued: “Our ethos is to secure apprenticeships for all learners who attend the full time course, and further develop them throughout their apprenticeship.

“We have a local company who has already stated that they will offer a minimum of six advanced apprenticeships across a range of engineering disciplines to learners who have successfully completed the traineeship program. We also have six of the full-time learners already being sponsored by two companies with a view of them becoming advanced apprentices to then progress onto level 3 in September 2016.

“We will be working within the Semta national occupational standards and apprenticeship frameworks just as they would be if they were in employment. We will also be looking to do real jobs for companies as part of the training so they get real hands-on experience of manufacturing components for a customer and all the skills required to do so.”

“It is the sort of training employers have been calling for and we will deliver it in conjunction with them under a rigorous assessment regime.”

Managing director of EAL, Julia Chippendale added: “This is a fantastic facility which brings engineering to life and provides a vibrant, real-time environment for learners.

“The training, the partnership with employers and the qualifications the apprentices will gain is the ideal passport into work, helping to ensure the UK has the skills to succeed in engineering and advanced manufacturing.”