Trailblazer: Outstanding (and much required) employer consultation

A consultation exercise regarding the Trailblazer standard for Machining was planned with 20 companies, accompanied by 7 GTAs, on 14th May 2015 at a GTA in the North West. The GTAs in attendance had discussed the standard and underpinning qualifications with other member companies with an interest in participating but not able to attend on the day. In the event only some 12 companies were able to participate with a few SMEs not being able to attend on the day due to customer or production issues requiring attention. Indeed, one company had to leave part way through the event in order to return to the plant. Such is the responsiveness and nature of SME organisations. All companies were below the 250 employee size with the number ranging from 10 employees. The group valued the cross sector nature of the Machining standard covering advanced manufacturing and engineering recognising the nature of smaller organisations operating in aerospace, marine, automotive occupational areas in pursuit of contracts. The workshop comprised of sessions on: background including the Richards review; reviewing employer Units of Competence (replacing NVQs within the underpinning qualifications within the standard); Delivery arrangements required to meet the Machining standard; and a robust discussion regarding trailblazer funding including E-vouchers. The latter discussion further identified the need for more information for employers. This reinforces the decision of the AME Trailblazer groups entrusting GTA England and NFEC to organise briefing sessions for employers in the Autumn following the successful Provider briefings. The employers valued the opportunity to influence the standard with comments including: to stretch the existing proposals”; “discuss and agree finer details ”; another stating how it is important to listen to groups (companies) needs ”; and how important it is cover “broad knowledge and discussion from all engineering sectors ” The employers rated the workshop as 1. Outstanding and consequently, at their request, we are holding further workshops to review the units of competence and consider the content of underpinning knowledge qualifications.

The report has been welcomed by colleagues in both the SFA and BIS. Members can find a copy of the report in the members are of the website

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