THE TECHNICAL Shared Apprenticeship scheme, first launched by Cyfle Building Skills in partnership with NPTC Group of colleges in September 2017, continues its 100% success record, with all apprentices having gone on to gain employment directly after completion of the course.
The innovative scheme is based in South West Wales and enables young adults to gain sustainable employment within the construction industry through shared apprenticeship training, mentoring, and meaningful work experience opportunities.
It allows individuals to combine practical work experience with study for a work-based, vocational qualification, and enables apprentices to gain the technical knowledge and real-life practical experience necessary to enter the job market, giving them a head start towards their future career.
Industry specific knowledge and skills are acquired through a mix of theory-based learning – which takes place in college one day a week – and practical placements within established construction businesses. This allows the apprentices the opportunity to embed the new skills they have learned into a real-world context.
During the apprenticeship, students work towards a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment and must complete a work-based portfolio to achieve an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations. The minimum entry criteria for the scheme is five GCSE’s at C grade or above, including Mathematics (minimum grade B) and English. Candidates for the Technical Apprenticeship are recruited following completion of their first Technical BTEC year or a Craft Level 2 or3 qualification.
The 2-year apprenticeship rotates students through several different employers, providing them with the opportunity to experience a variety of different job roles, such as construction management, quantity surveying, engineering, civil engineering, and design & planning.
To date, 25 apprentices have completed the Technical Shared Apprenticeship with Cyfle Building Skills and NPTC Group of colleges, all of them going on to secure positions within one of the organisations with which they had been placed during their time on the scheme.
This proven, flexible approach to training apprentices also has huge benefits for employers, as it allows them to dip in and out of apprentice training for as long – or as short – a period as they have the capacity.
Whilst enrolled on the scheme, apprentices are recruited and employed by Cyfle Building Skills, meaning there are no ongoing employment commitments for employers offering placements, and support is given from a local Cyfle project coordinator.
It also helps participating businesses to meet community engagement targets, take advantage of contract opportunities, and gives them the opportunity to evaluate and train future employees.
Employer partner, SO Modular operations director, Charlotte Hale, explained:
“The Technical Apprenticeship Route has been a great programme for SO Modular to be involved in, as we have benefited greatly from it.
“We believe hiring apprentices is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Not only does the apprentice route benefit SO Modular as a company, but crucially it benefits the apprentices themselves as they are provided with a good foundation for a career, and it helps open doors and break down barriers that others might face.
“At present we have 3 office-based apprentices – two Designers and one Quantity Surveyor – as well as a variety of factory operatives, and we look forward to introducing further individuals to our ever-growing team where everyone gives their best and strives to help one another.”
Chris Cutforth, section leader at Swansea Council Building Services, added:
“At a time where industry is ‘creaking’ and struggling from a position of behind the curve of Technical resource provision, the Technical Apprenticeship route has proven to be a lifeline for Swansea Council Building Services.
“Technical professions are by their very nature ‘transient’ and it is more than evident that – as a region – all we are doing is sharing the same pool of resource. The Technical Apprenticeship route has offered the locality ‘additionally’ to help cope with industry’s demands by increasing the supply of this much-needed professional resource.”
Pat Hogan, Deputy Head of the School Building Engineering Services, NPTC Group of Colleges, said:
“As a college, we are delighted to see the volume of students entering apprenticeships this year. The pandemic has had a great impact on many businesses, and it is good to see the industry recovering and supporting young people in the transition from education to training and on to employment.
“The working partnership we have with Cyfle Building Skills on the technical shared apprenticeship route is proving extremely successful. Cyfle, in conjunction with a large number of employers in the area, really invest in their time into developing our trainees and apprentices to give them the best opportunities they can, whether this has been into employment or onto higher education at university.”
Rhys Fisher, Cyfle/Skills Academy coordinator, said:
“We’re very proud that all 23 technical shared apprentices have gone into employment after completing the course. They have all progressed on to the next stage of their development, and companies are happy to fund them as they have seen what the student is capable of during the apprenticeship.
“The technical apprenticeship also helps the student chose the pathway they want to progress in by giving them the opportunity to try a variety of different roles and, therefore, the NVQ they complete with us is very broad. It is also a way for apprentices to prove their value to companies, and that’s how they end up progressing. The site experience that employers so often ask for is evident if they chose our Technical Apprenticeship.”
If you would like further information on Cyfle Technical Shared Apprenticeships, either as an apprentice or an employer, please contact Rhys Fisher on 07813 490 427 or e-mail [email protected]