Apprenticeship reform

Xtrac employees were recently invited to attend a meeting with MPs, who were keen to learn more about the company’s engineering apprenticeship-training scheme ahead of the proposed Apprenticeship Reform Bill.

Minister for skills David Lammy explained that apprenticeships are critical for achieving the government’s objective of establishing the UK as a world leader in skills by 2020.

Xtrac currently has ten apprentices and plans to recruit two more this September. Each apprentice studies mechanical engineering over a period of three to four years. Over the past five years the company has trained a total of 24 apprentices with 100 per cent completion rate.

The programme combines on-the-job skills training and college attendance. Apprentice coordinator Warren Page supports each apprentice for the entire duration of the programme, making sure the initial transition from school to full time employment and study is as easy as possible.

After formal induction into the company, each apprentice spends the first 16 months of their programme experiencing and learning all areas of the business. The remainder of their training focuses on a particular part of the business ranging from skilled CNC machining and process management to the assembly of high precision vehicle transmissions.

Apprentices focus on achieving the Edexcel BTEC National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering. There is also the possibility of working towards additional higher qualifications. The ultimate goal is to achieve an NVQ Level 3 and to secure permanent employment.

Head of human resources Jane Gilham said: ‘We welcome the news of the new legislation and encourage all parties to begin working together now to consider the practicalities.’

She added: ‘In particular we need to consider funding for employers, flexible frameworks for delivering apprenticeships and the need for industry to define its requirements for curriculum and qualifications.’