Apprentice breakthrough to keep industry moving & overcome COVID-19 crisis
12 May 2020
Remote end-point assessment boosts business recovery hopes: British business is being urged by industry leaders & unions to adopt newly developed techniques to ensure that thousands of young apprentices can still qualify during the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s leading specialist skills partner & awarding organisation for engineering & manufacturing, EAL, part of the Enginuity Group, has developed new protocols for carrying out vital End-Point Assessments (the series of tests apprentices must take to prove their ability to do the job they have been training for) remotely – which would allow apprentices to achieve required benchmarks in the learning process, become qualified and be ready to help the nation’s economic recovery, as industry emerges from the COVID-19 crisis.
The breakthrough ensures that even apprentices being furloughed could still move to the next level, enhance their earnings and boost their career prospects.
Some government messaging from the DfE has been interpreted that business should put apprentices ‘on hold’ until the crisis has passed, leading to a serious breakdown in morale – and impacting businesses' ability to bounce back when the lockdown is lifted.
Union leaders welcome timely development
Kevin Rowan, Head of Organisation, Services & Skills at TUC said: “The new ways of working mark a significant breakthrough for business and apprentices, ensuring quality standards are not compromised - while allowing companies and personnel to continue building skills and productivity in these challenging times.
“Engineering and manufacturing will be in the front-line of recovery – and we need to ensure that every single apprentice in the pipeline is given a fair chance to do their bit – crisis or no crisis.”
Ian Waddell, of the Confederation of Shipbuilding & Engineering Unions said: “Tens of thousands of apprentices are in danger of being side-lined – when in fact they should be raring to help us on the road to recovery.
“We wholeheartedly support this pioneering development, championed by Enginuity and its awarding organisation, EAL – and urge industry to make best use of it in the weeks and months to come. This crisis must not be allowed to blight thousands of young lives, as they set out to help Britain prosper.”
Andrew Robinson, Operations & Apprenticeship Manager at specialist recruitment firm, Morson said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of the Morson Group and are key to securing a sustainable talent pipeline for all future projects.
“In these difficult times, working with the team at EAL and using technology to find agile solutions to the End-Point Assessment process has allowed us to ensure our apprentices have completed their learning journey and received the qualifications they have worked hard for.”
Claire Gavaghan, CEO of Derwent Training Association, a North Yorkshire training provider delivering engineering apprenticeships, said: “We moved to remote delivery in mid-March. We went from a standing start and learned and adapted, not easy but essential. We knew we could not let apprentices be forgotten. They are crucial to the productivity of the UK.
“Not a single apprentice has gone on a break in learning, all are still in-learning and are making progress towards achievement. Employers and apprentices are happy with the continued training.”
The remote End-Point Assessments began on 13th March 2020 and are carried out by a team of 47 specially trained assessors in aspects of engineering including Automotive, Rail, Aerospace, Manufacturing, Project Management, Maintenance, Automation and Control, Tool Making & Machining, Fabrication & Welding, and Engineering Specialisms such as Metrology and Product Design.
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