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Firms to develop standard for civils apprenticeships

An employer working group is to develop a standard for civil engineering technician apprenticeships.

The panel – chaired by Arup associate Kim Blackmore – will carry out the work under the Trailblazer scheme.

The government set out a raft of reforms to the way apprenticeships are delivered in October 2013. It said in a progress report on these changes published this week that more than 1,000 employers were now working to create standards for their professions through Trailblazer.

Skills minister Nick Boles (pictured) said: “I am delighted that the civil engineering sector is to join more than 1,000 of the country’s leading employers in designing a new top quality apprenticeship in civil engineering technician. 

“Giving employers the power to design apprenticeships means that apprentices graduate with the skills they need for the job they want and businesses get the talent they need to grow.”

The Institution of Civil Engineers backed the move.

Director-general Nick Baveystock said: “Engineering is not just for those who go to university, and this apprenticeship will allow more people to achieve professional status.

“The engineering sector is picking up speed and we need more people from all backgrounds to contribute to Britain’s success. Formal recognition by [the government] of this civil engineering apprenticeship will help fulfil this ambition, also validating the apprenticeship’s successes to date. 

“Continuity is an important factor in education policy. I hope the next government maintains support for the trailblazer programme and continues to work with the built environment community – developing quality apprenticeships rather than simply more of them.”

Companies represented on the civil engineering employer working group include CH2M Hill, the Highways Agency, Mott MacDonald and Mouchel.

Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin added: “It is clear to me that the optimism of ACE member companies, large and small, is tempered by a concern that they are finding it difficult and expensive to recruit and retain the highly skilled staff they need to deliver their projects. 

“With an ageing workforce and a potential shortage of graduates, the situation is only going to get worse. The sector as a whole urgently needs to find new ways to access and train the next generation of professional engineers.”

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