Bringing skills up to standard

Posted on 26 Sep 2008 by The Manufacturer

The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing has publicly announced the process by which it will validate training material and providers against its national training quality standard.

There is now a prescribed route for training providers to have their own material independently validated and to also identify approved training products with which to expand their portfolio. In conjunction with material approval there is also an approval route for anyone delivering training to ensure their approach meets nationally recognised levels of quality.

The Skills Academy’s approach to validation is designed to achieve three objectives:

1. To identify and signpost the UK’s flagship manufacturing training material, allowing training providers access to the very best approved tools with which to increase their training portfolio

2. To offer manufacturing training providers a clear route and standard to raising the quality of their training delivery to meet employer need

3. To create a manufacturing training community where providers can seek new training material and expert support for better delivery; and employers can identify through The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing high quality training product and suppliers to help them achieve the strongest possible business benefits through powerful learning

The National Skills Academy for Manufacturing is setting the national agenda for skills in the sector by bringing together the best existing training, content and delivery; combining it with innovative new approaches to work-based learning, expert knowledge and championing the result as a new approach to skills that delivers real business benefits to employers. By doing so it aims to raise the bar for manufacturing training provision across the UK and increase demand from employers for greater quality skills products and positive outcomes.
“We’ve been speaking to training providers and manufacturing employers for more than a year because we know that our approach must reflect the wants and needs of the market,” explains Ian Wilcox, the Skills Academy’s Head of Approval and Supply. “What we found is that there are too many employers spending money on training that doesn’t meet their needs. This is simply because they don’t know where to find high quality, approved training providers and material to be able to treat training as an investment, with the expected return on that investment. Our challenge has always been to create a community where training providers and employers can both benefit from access to a national pool of high quality, validated training talent and material.”

The process for validation
Training providers with their own material can now approach the Skills Academy to have that material validated. The Skills Academy will help them identify what they wish to achieve through validation, validate the material, help set up the intellectual property rights, package the material to make it attractive to other training providers, and make it available to other providers at an agreed cost – offering a shop window for providers’ validated products and a new source of revenue.

Training providers without their own materials can now work with the Skills Academy to source the most appropriate tools for their customers’ needs, based on existing products available from other providers with material they wish to share across the UK. For the first time they will have one place from which to access a range of validated UK training. Where gaps exist the Skills Academy will work with training providers to develop new materials that support their need and meet the national quality standard.

Training providers (and employers delivering training in-house) that are keen to improve the quality of their training delivery and validate their trainers/assessor against the national standard now have a clear route to do so involving three phases:

1. The trainer’s underpinning knowledge of the subject matter is an important part of effective training. If it needs to be strengthened the Skills Academy or material owner will offer a bespoke learning programme using a combination of tools including workshops, case studies and possibly placements

2. Trainers must also show existing competence in advanced learning practices or undertake the Skills Academy’s Advanced Learning Programme (ALP). This teaches them how to train effectively using world class practices that promote sustainable learning. They are introduced to recognised techniques that keep candidates fully engaged and increase the long-term impact of training.

3. Finally, trainers go through a process of course familiarisation. They attend the specific course they wish to deliver and learn the best methods of delivery, the points of impact, and familiarise themselves with any learning kits or tools specific to that course.

For more information on validating training material or delivery against the Skills Academy’s national standard contact Ian Buckingham at the Skills Academy on 0121 717 6610 or [email protected]