Separate apprenticeship schemes across the four UK regions

The four UK regions all have separate apprenticeship schemes (the preference of apprentice employers would be to run the English apprenticeships across the whole of the UK, but alas, this is not possible due to devolved powers for education). In England, the BINDT apprenticeships are suitable for operators, technicians or degree engineers. These standards will be revised after Easter 2020, as per a request from government, and in the revisions it is sensible to start including condition monitoring. To that end, Professor Tony Hope is working with condition monitoring employers to determine their requirements. For some time, it has proven challenging to convince Scottish authorities to transform their apprenticeships. BINDT has positive news with regards to improving this situation. The modern apprenticeship (MA), run by either ECITB or EAL in NDT, is currently under review and there is a chance we can replace the Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) with EN 4179 or ISO 9712 PCN or CSWIP approvals instead. This will make the apprenticeship more appetising for employers and align it with the NDT Technician standard available in England. The graduate apprenticeship (GA) is equivalent to the English NDT Engineer standard. Scottish employers and BINDT have met with the University of Strathclyde and discussed their BEng (Hon) Engineering: Design and Manufacture degree. In this four-year programme, years one and two will be the same regardless of what industry you work in, covering maths, mechanical engineering, electronics, manufacturing and design, etc. The employers liked this broad approach as it is suitable for all NDT sector industries. Years three and four will be exclusively reserved for NDT-related study, including two technical projects. There may even be the potential of waiving modules in lieu of having NDT Level 3 qualifications by the time you complete your degree. For my own company, I am hopeful to put one apprentice on this scheme starting Autumn 2020. The entry requirements are four Bs in technical subjects at higher/A-Level. As Scotland has a different mechanism for paying degree fees (provided you live and work in Scotland), the cost to the employer for the degree will be zero.

Iain Baillie is with Lead Employer Rolls-Royce and is involved with the NDT apprenticeship schemes. He is also BINDT President Elect.

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