Semta gains apprenticeship supremacy

Posted on 21 Apr 2011 by The Manufacturer

Sector Skills Council, Semta has been nominated as the sole issuing authority for apprenticeship frameworks in England for the science, engineering and manufacturing technology sectors.

Apprenticeship frameworks outline the statutory requirements of individual apprenticeship programmes in England and Wales. They are used by colleges, employers and training providers alike, to ensure all programmes, wherever they take place, are consistent in content and quality.

Frameworks must be regularly reviewed to ensure that apprenticeship training is incorporating both core skills and knowledge of emerging technologies, such as composites manufacutirng and bio manufacutring where relevant. In addition, changing workplace requirements around health and safety and best practice for key processes must be incorporated.

Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta commented on the organisation’s appointment as England’s apprenticeship issuing authority saying: “Semta is really proud to have been awarded this new responsibility. We know that apprenticeships can deliver enormous benefit to businesses in our sectors, but it is important that they meet the needs of employers. We are already working closely with industry to develop apprenticeship frameworks that meet these needs, and this new appointment will allow us to support employers even further, understanding demand and helping develop the right solution.”

This is the second accolade for, and sign of confidence in, British sector skills councils in one week following as it does on the news that sector skills council Cogent’s Gold Standard competency framework for job roles will be applied as a benchmark for the chemicals sector across the EU. The decision was made by The European Chemical Employers Group and the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation at a conference in Brussels on April 15 but was announced to the public on April 20.

This agreement is the first of its type in the chemical industry and only the second across all European sectors related to training, education and lifelong learning. The agreement, formed with strong industry input as well as trade union and industry body support aims to help businesses and workforces through the global economic crisis and build a rational, common platform for sustainable growth.

John Holton, Cogent Strategy Director, commented after the agreement was signed: “The value of the Cogent Gold Standard was instantly apparent; management competency for a first line supervisor was identified as a skills gap by many countries and they are now planning training programmes to close this gap.”

Both of these piece of news from British sector skills councils show that efforts to create clear frameworks for skills benchmarking and the maintenance of standards, both nationally and internationally, are finally coming to fruition. The effect of this work will have on employers’ ability to identify skills gaps that could damage their international competitive standing or compliance status is yet to be seen but the move towards a rationalised apprenticeship management system will be welcome to those who have complained of confusion in the administration of the skills landscape.