Hancock backs new engineering qualification

Posted on 11 Mar 2014 by Callum Bentley

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock has backed a proposal to create a new, specialist engineering qualification during a recent skills summit.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock has backed a proposal by ADV Manufacturing and Industry Forum to create a new, world-class specialist engineering qualification, during a skills summit hosted at the Coventry based automotive manufacturer.

The Minister joined Dan Byles, MP for North Warwickshire, ADV’s senior management team and a select group of Midlands automotive and engineering firms – including BMW and Sertec – at the recent skills summit which took place at ADV Manufacturing’s Bayton Road site.

During a questions and answers session with the Minister, ADV Manufacturing’s managing director Tim Martin asked for Government support for the new course that will see national accreditation for  graduates taking the New Product Innovation (NPI) Blackbelt qualification.

The accredited NPI Blackbelt, currently being developed by ADV in partnership with the Industry Forum arm of the Society of Motoring Manufactuers and Traders, will provide post-apprenticeship training to equip workers with the skills required to deliver new automotive and areospace products into the market.

With innovation and NPI skills crucial to the sustainability of the industry supply chain, the NPI Blackbelt would potentially address the NPI skills gap and help drive high-value manufacturing activity in the UK.

Minister Matthew Hancock said: “If there is a new area of expertise identified that matters to SMMT and companies such as ADV Manufacturing we are all for working in partnership on such an initiative.

“If that initiative supports rigorous training and transferable skills, then we will very much look at supporting that.”

Tim Martin, ADV Manufacturing’s managing director, said: “It’s very encouraging to hear the Minister voice Government support towards gaining national accreditation for the NPI Blackbelt qualification. This is a qualification that can seriously transform the skills base and one we at ADV Manufacturing and the Industry Forum are determined to establish as a nationally accredited, industry standard qualification.”

The skills summit, taking place as part of National Apprenticeship Week, saw a range of local companies from the manufacturing and engineering sector, posing questions to the panel.

Issues discussed included the quality of apprenticeship schemes, access to apprenticeships for both younger or more mature ‘second life apprentices’ and the need for engineering companies to work with schools and colleges to make engineering a more attractive career proposition.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said:  “It’s imperative that we get employers into schools to explain how exciting, vibrant and rewarding a career in engineering is.

“Having manufacturers such as BMW or Jaguar Land Rover – or even ADV Manufacturing with their work on Nissan taxis – taking their vehicles into schools to discuss how they were developed and made is a very persuasive argument of how interesting a career in engineering can be.’’

ADV Manufacturing’s choice as skills summit host followed on from last month’s announcement by the Coventry based firm of a £6m deal to assemble Nissan’s new London taxis. With the first 1.6 litre petrol-engine models set to be produced in November, ADV Group is already taking on new staff, including apprentices, as part its expansion plans.