John Moody discusses the advantages and disadvantages of apprenticeship training…

At a recent presentation, we were informed that a French worker would only have to work four days to be as productive as a British worker working five days and this was attributed to training. Over time, the perceived responsibility for training in the UK moved away from the employer to the government and back again, to the point where very little structured training was happening. The government looked at this and saw a way forward with the Trailblazer apprenticeship scheme, which has been embraced by such notable employers as Rolls-Royce. However, not enough employers are involved and not nearly enough existing and new staff are being trained.

BINDT approached employers to develop an apprenticeship scheme for NDT, which resulted in the successful completion of two different apprenticeships with a third on its way. Industry led the way on what it wanted and BINDT facilitated it. Unfortunately, due to devolution, the apprenticeships are only available in England, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are taking their own approach to training and funding through the Barnett formula. From April 2017, any company that has a payroll greater than £3 million will pay a levy for training and in England it can be spent on approved apprenticeship training.

There is funding available for both the large and small employer, often as high as a 100% refund on training fees for levy payers and 90% for non-levy payers.

The apprenticeship minimum wage is below the national minimum wage (which is only an advantage to the employer) and would not have a requirement for NI contributions (the apprentice will still accrue credit towards their pension).

The apprentice is given comprehensive training beyond the minimal few weeks required at an ATO, where they are just gaining certification. This can be to degree level or beyond and is led by the employer.

The apprentice will not have the debt incurred by taking a university residential degree in England.

BINDT will support the apprenticeship with free Institute membership, a free log book, free access to online material and assistance towards Engineering Council registration.

If you are a fee-paying organisation you only have access to your money for two years and then it is gone.

If you are not involved, your competitors will be training their staff for a fraction of the actual cost and will be at an advantage in the future.

If you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, your governments have not signed up for this but the levy rules apply.

What to do next
If you are a lead provider, such as Rolls-Royce, the best point of contact will probably be your HR department.

For those of you who are interested, contact your preferred approved training organisation (ATO), which will be able to assist you through the process, including introducing you to their partnering lead provider. You need to decide which NDT methods are to be gained, along with the academic subjects to be covered, and again the ATO will advise. Additional information can be found at:

There are government rules and regulations that have to be met and again the ATO and lead provider will advise.

For the apprenticeship, a Gantt chart is required and agreed on; this must be followed as the apprenticeship progresses. A Gantt chart is a type of bar chart, devised by Henry Gantt, that illustrates a project schedule. Gantt charts illustrate the start and finish dates of the terminal elements and summary elements of a project. The ATO will be able to assist.

To help and support the apprenticeship, BINDT requires that the details of the apprentice to be emailed to:

The interested parties will monitor the progress of the apprenticeship and at the end of it will contact the end-point assessment organisation to arrange for the end-point assessment to be carried out, which will involve a meeting with the apprentice and a review of the work and learning carried out through the apprenticeship. Again, the ATO and lead provider will advise. BINDT is an approved end-point assessment organisation for NDT apprenticeships.

Do not let this wonderful opportunity pass you by; there is a significant amount of funding available and this may decrease in the future. Additionally, there may be other parts of your company that would benefit from having apprenticeships. Useful web pages include:

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