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Topic Title: Engineering Apprenticeships
Topic Summary: Engineering Apprenticeships
Created On: 14 November 2011 10:30 AM
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 14 November 2011 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by: pmiller2006
the 'engineering apprenticeship' only has 6 weeks practical training in soldering, riveting and component overhaul and study at a local college towards a BTEC diploma in Business and Administration.

I see the makings of a Chartered Engineer here.
 16 November 2011 09:45 AM
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I haven't read the story in The Times Magazine but I heard on the radio this morning that there was an "Apprenticeship Summit" being held. A recruitment company was interviewed about their "apprenticeship" which if I understood it correctly was less than a year.

It is unfortunate that the term "apprenticeship" has been used for some years to describe training that is far less substantial than the professional engineering community would expect. For example from the late 90s we (I was a company Training Manager) dropped the term "Technician Apprentice" in favour of "Student Engineer" for a four-year programme with an HNC. However it was still difficult to attract the most able candidates until a degree was included.

There are still many excellent engineering training schemes on offer for people leaving school, college, university or migrating from other work. The IET approves a large number of "Advanced Apprenticeships" and the numbers of "Higher Apprenticeships" which we also support is projected to grow significantly.

I don't think that we can do much about the terms "apprentice" and "engineer" being used in ways that many of us are uncomfortable with. But I do think that IET members as professionals (and often as employers), should do all we can to encourage people into the profession and support them to progress within it.

I would much prefer that someone is doing introductory training or working towards a "Foundation Apprenticeship" than becoming a NEET.

Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards
 16 November 2011 11:36 AM
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I understand your point Roy, but if for example BA was one of these companies the IET was working with, and with regards to accredited schemes etc., would the IET then advise BA accordingly?

 28 November 2011 02:17 PM
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I was hoping to highlight the list of approved schemes in my reply but the link seems to have temporarily disappeared in the recent website revamp (no doubt to be restored soon).

An apprenticeship is not approved by the IET unless it has passed an initial review and is subjected to regular monitoring/re-approval.

Many larger companies might offer a range of apprenticeships, some of which may not necessarily be engineering and technology focused, or at the advanced or higher level.

It should surprise no-one that the best apprenticeships provide an excellent route into an engineering career. I was delighted to recognise one of our youngest new Chartered Engineers last week, the route taken was via an apprenticeship and subsequent part time/distance learning to HNC, BEng & MSc whilst employed as an engineer.

It was quite common at one time for many large organisations to recruit most of their engineering talent as apprentices, with options for craft, technician and engineer depending on aptitude. This approach has never died, but declined with the fragmentation of utilities and decline of some large industries. For many enthusiastic and able young people full-time university attendance therefore became the main pathway.

As a result it is increasingly common to find people with engineering degrees (including MEng) working in technician roles. Some innovative universities have already worked with the IET to recognise degrees with suitable work experience in a similar way to an apprenticeship.

There will always be a place (and employer demand) for academically challenging courses with the "apprenticeship" (i.e. work based training) coming later. However in my opinion, concurrent experience and formal learning is the optimum approach for developing the majority of Technicians and Engineers. Government should therefore strongly encourage collaborative approaches between employers and colleges/universities. Funding for apprenticeships and more vocational (often part-time/distance learning) courses is essential, but funding does need to "feed the front line" to produce results, otherwise we risk creating more administrators than engineers. Not necessarily an unwelcome outcome - if that that it is actually the policy objective!

Roy Bowdler IEng FIET FCIPD
IET Registration & Standards

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