One size doesn’t fit all

Posted on 28 Mar 2011 by The Manufacturer

Semta has acted to safeguard core apprenticeship training but does government understand what prompted this need?

Ann Watson, managing director of engineering awarding organisation, EAL, gives her view on the recent action taken by Semta to ensure that the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) NVQ level 2 is retained within the apprenticeship framework for engineering.

The action was prompted by the January release of the Specification for Apprenticeship Standards in England (SASE). This framework, formulated by government to standardise and give consistency across the delivery of apprenticeships, had threatened to omit the PEO, an important health and safety requirement.

Watson: “Engineering demands high-quality, fit for purpose training and I question whether a universal framework such as SASE, can realistically deliver every time. The hands-on experience and practical knowledge, which is integral to advanced skills apprenticeships and highly valued by employers, was threatened by SASE when PEO was no longer part of the revised engineering framework. It is thanks to Semta and the National Apprenticeships Service’s (NAS) quick action, that the skills taught in PEO have been retained and incorporated into new qualifications.

“The Government has placed manufacturing firmly within its sights, and makes no secret of the fact the UK needs to work its way out of recession. As the Chancellor rightly said last week, this must be a “budget for making things, not for making things up”. At the heart of the Government’s ‘strategy for growth’ lies manufacturing, so any move which undermines the very skills which underpin the UK’s ability to compete in the global arena would seem incredibly short-sighted.

“To ensure continuity, the current framework has been extended until the end of June to make the process of transition easier. The needs of industry have been spearheaded by Semta, who worked with Government to reach an outcome favourable to both employers and learners, while retaining the spirit of SASE. I hope that the Government has taken on board that where manufacturing and engineering are concerned, we simply can’t afford to let standards of training slip.”