EAL qualifications surge as industry pushes to upskill

Registrations on EAL courses for engineering and manufacturing have risen 35% in the last year

The rapid growth has boosted sales at EAL, the awarding body responsible for two-thirds of engineering-related qualifications awarded in the UK and a subsidiary of sector skills council Semta.

EAL sales for the last 12 months now stand at £8.7million, an 11% rise on the previous financial year.

Since all profits from EAL are ploughed back into industry skills development this means a £2.3million surplus is now available to Semta – a threefold improvement on 2010/11.

EAL’s success has been attributed to its commitment to industry partnerships with other awarding organisations, Sector Skills Councils, employers and learning providers. Innovations within the company’s customer facing systems and the development of Government policy on vocational learning, including Apprenticeships are also thought to have contributed.

Alastair Imrie, EAL chairman and formerly group human resources director at BAE Systems, said that the gains made by EAL were testament to the strength of the organisation’s partnerships and the relevance of its diverse qualification options. He warned however, that: “The climate we operate in continues to present fresh challenges to everyone involved in work based learning, as unemployment figures add to the pressure to stimulate economic growth.”

He assured industry representatives that EAL had gone to great lengths to protect the interests and communicate the views of industry during discussions with government on its new vision for vocational learning in the UK.

“Looking to 2012/13, we will continue to channel our surplus into supporting vital skills for industry, strengthening a commitment which, in the last 10 years, has seen over £10million reinvested through our Industry Support Programme,” claimed Mr Imrie.

Dr Dolores Byrne OBE, interim chief executive at Semta, added: “The hard work from the EAL team in increasing learner volumes has been fundamental to the outstanding financial results from the company in the last year.