The Engineering Council welcomes the Richard Review of Apprenticeships, a timely and important consideration of what apprenticeships should look like. Issued in November, the report by Doug Richard recommends that the focus of apprenticeships should be on the outcomes, with one qualification for each occupation category, and highlights the importance of linking high quality apprenticeships to professional registration.
Of particular interest to the Engineering Council is Doug Richard’s belief that, for each category of occupation, there should be a standard that clearly describes the level of skill and competency required to do the job well and to operate confidently in the sector, and that this standard should form the basis of qualification that affirms an individuals competency in a given job, having completed an apprenticeship. He recommends that the basis for future apprenticeship qualifications should be recognised industry standards, and that the qualifications are linked to the standards for professional registration where these exist.
This is good news for the engineering sector, which has always supported and driven high quality apprenticeship provision. It provides a key opportunity for the already well-established UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) to be used as the basis of the new apprenticeships, enabling the development of professional engineering competence to be embedded within each engineering apprenticeship qualification. UK-SPEC was produced in 2003 with the strong involvement of employers and has quickly gained widespread support across the engineering sector.
Engineering apprentices would therefore be able to achieve the appropriate education at the same time as developing knowledge and competence in the workplace, leading to professional registration as an Engineering Technician (EngTech) or Incorporated Engineer (IEng). At the same time, employers would see the high quality, challenging and stretching apprenticeships they are seeking, and gain the assurance that apprentices develop the skills that fit with their needs.
Jon Prichard, CEO of the Engineering Council says: “The engineering profession is open to individuals who have followed a range of pathways, and growing the number of apprentices will be increasingly important in meeting the UK’s need for skilled engineers and technicians. We fully support the development of high quality apprenticeships that provide access to and progression within the profession. Many of the Professional Engineering Institutions that we work with already approve high quality employer apprenticeship schemes that meet the profession’s standards, details of which are made available on our technician qualifications database.”
The Richard Review is available at:http://www.bis.gov.uk/news/topstories/2012/Nov/richard-review-of-apprenticeships
The Engineering Council’s database of technician qualifications can be found at: /education--skills/technicians/database-of-technician-qualifications