Local employers from the Sheffield City Region have attended an Employer Advisory Forum hosted by RNN Training and held at University Centre Rotherham (UCR) that explored the potential of the Level 4 Engineering Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Standard.
The forum discussion was wide-ranging with representatives from key employers including Greencore, Liberty Steel and AESSEAL discussing the new route and how it may tie in with plugging the skills gap that an ageing workforce currently leaves for the industry.
The forum offered the employers around the table the chance to contribute to the delivery design of this new Apprenticeship Standard and offer feedback on the units and skills that would be most beneficial for the next generation of engineer.
The employers were also keen to hear about how the Apprenticeship Levy could potentially be used to offer additional value to both the apprentice and the business and understand what additional learning could be available, with some discussion around whether knowledge and skills in areas such as Hydraulics could be gained in partnership with the National Fluid Power Centre (NFPC).
Liberty Steel UK Training and Development Manager Tony Goddard attended the forum and was keen to discuss the opportunities this new Apprenticeship Standard will present.
Tony said: “Meetings such as these are important to ensure academic institutions understand the needs and expectations of businesses. This forum allows us to get across the demands and changes that are being experienced by businesses; which will hopefully highlight curriculum developments that need to be considered for future delivery.
“Funding for traditional apprenticeships to bring an individual up to a basic level of competency are commonly known and understood, but the opportunity to use levy funding to then continue to upskill the same individuals is not at the moment widely publicized or known. So, opportunities like this which not only focuses on the requirement for an individual to demonstrate competency, and which is fully funded, will help to close current skills gaps.”
RNN Group Director of Employer Engagement James Godsell coordinated the event and was on-hand to answer questions from the employers.
James said: “These forums are all about collaboration with businesses within the sector. We intend to work closely with employers to ensure that our curriculum, and the knowledge, skills and behaviours gained through an apprenticeship are appropriate for both the apprentice and the business.
“It was important to get these local employers around the table today and outline our plans for the Level 4 Engineering Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship. Our commitment to collaborating with industry means that we will be going away from this meeting and reviewing our unit selection and mentoring systems to ensure that we are supporting businesses appropriately and will be picking-up the comments around some of the knowledge and skills with an End-Point Assessment Organisation to provide clarity for employers.”