The CBM’s new Degree Level Apprenticeship Qualification
It’s been a long – and often challenging – journey, but I am delighted to reveal that the CBM’s new degree level apprenticeship qualification, Tool Process Design Engineer, a Trailblazer Standard for the sheet-metal industry, has now received formal approval.
After months of discussions about the content, quality and proposed structure of our Level Six course, the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) has agreed the concept, allowing us to move on to developing a detailed curriculum with our university partner.
It was especially pleasing to hear Ana Osbourne, the IfA’s deputy director of approvals, describe this stage as a “key achievement”, and to be complimented for our “dedication” to raising the quality of apprenticeships in England.
We expect this course to start this autumn; with roughly 40 apprentices taking part in the first year, rising to 60 in the third year.
Many people deserve to be acknowledged for their contribution, not least the 11 member companies who sacrificed their time to add expertise and observations to the process.
We also received crucial guidance through our membership of the national Automotive Trailblazer Group, particularly Andrew Parsons, of Toyota Manufacturing (UK) Ltd, who chairs the group.
Shortage of Tool-Making Talent
As members well know, there has been a significant shortage of tool-making talent in our manufacturing sector since the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, and as a result, the majority of tools used in this country are now made in China and SouthEast Asia.
Our employer-led strategy to tackle this crisis has been to set up a Level Two training course, which will be delivered at Dudley College, a Level Three course, which will get underway at a mini press-shop inside the National Metalforming Centre from September, and a Level Six course.
All three are designed to Trailblazer Standards, and my hope is that we will soon see a conveyor belt of new talent coming through, as trainees qualify at one level and move to the next.
Such progress will depend, of course, on their individual desires and the skills strategy of their employer, but I think we all see that career path as the optimum solution for the metalforming industry.
There will be a new challenge ahead, as the suppliers of tools will need to engage with our training process, and CBM members looking to send employees on these courses, to make sure they dovetail with their requirements.
However, after successfully negotiated the IfA’s complex and lengthy approval process, we are certainly well prepared for the next stage on our journey.
If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read our previous blog post on CBM Membership.