A new Lifting Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship is now available and ready for delivery, following final approval from the Institute of Apprenticeships. The new apprenticeship framework has been devised by an employer-led Trailblazer working group and is supported by the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA).
Designed for those who will operate a Mobile Crane, Crawler Crane or Tower Crane and undertake slinging and signalling duties, the new Lifting Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship replaces the existing Construction Civil Engineering Plant Operator (Cranes Lifting) Framework Apprenticeship which will eventually be phased out.
The employer-led Trailblazer working group was headed up by Laing O’Rourke and also consisted of several crane owners and contractors, namely Ainscough, Baldwins Crane Hire Ltd, BAM Nuttall, Balfour Beatty, Bronzeshield Lifting Limited, Emerson Cranes, Skanska, Select Plant Hire, Sarens, Liebherr and CITB. The working group was formed in early 2014 to devise the standards and assessment plan for the Lifting Technician Apprenticeship, with the aim of integrating both crane operating skills with slinging/signalling skills to provide both the apprentice and employer with a greater scope of skills and to fully understand the lifting operations sector, preparing a pathway for the apprentice to become a Crane Supervisor and ultimately an appointed person.
The new Level 2 Lifting Technician Apprenticeship has a total training period of up to 24 months including work experience, of which 20% of the learning time needs to be delivered ‘off the job’. The core training period has been derived as a minimum of 300 hours and as with all Trailblazer Apprenticeships, a formal training qualification does not form part of the apprenticeship. It is the End Point Assessment (EPA) which determines the competency of the apprentice at the end of the learning period, however NVQ’s in Plant Operations (Cranes and Specialist Lifting) and Controlling Lifting Operations (Slinger/Signaller) need to be achieved before the end assessment can be undertaken. This meets the construction industry’s initiative of an NVQ qualified workforce holding a CSCS-badged scheme card.
There are no age restrictions for the Lifting Technician Apprenticeship but suitable and effective supervision, based on thorough risk assessments, needs to be made for young people when working on site. The employer-led Trailblazer working group has devised a training record portfolio which is to be completed during the core training period, confirming that each element of the training syllabus has been completed. An End Point Assessment (EPA) Portfolio accompanies the training record portfolio and indicates the number and type of activities that the apprentice must complete during their work experience, along with the behaviours that need to be demonstrated. The End Point Assessment consists of a practical test on the relevant type of crane, a set of written questions and a professional discussion for which the content of the EPA Portfolio is used as the basis of the discussion. If the apprentice passes the End Point Assessment, then the apprenticeship has been successfully completed.
This apprenticeship has been placed within the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s funding band 11 which allows apprenticeship levy paying employers to spend up to a maximum of £15,000 for the training and assessment of the apprentice. Non-levy payers can currently receive up to 90% of the maximum. Potential employers can approach an approved training provider of their choice and discuss a training delivery model that suits their needs. The aim by Government for Trailblazer Apprenticeships is that the employer retains a level of responsibility for the overall training of apprentice in conjunction with a lead provider. There are a number of conditions that relate to apprenticeship funding, for which further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-funding-bands.
The standard and assessment plan for the Lifting Technician Apprenticeship can be downloaded from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-standard-lifting-technician. The CPA is hosting the training and assessment documentation and a training syllabus, training record portfolio and the EPA Portfolio can be downloaded free of charge from the CPA website at https://www.cpa.uk.net/trailblazer-downloads/.
Chair of the Trailblazer working group, Elizabeth Astill of Laing O’Rourke said: “We’re very pleased and relieved to have received the final approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships after some three years of hard work by the working group. Being one of the first Trailblazer Apprenticeships to be developed meant that we had to endure constant changes to the rules whilst the custodianship for apprenticeships transferred from one Government department to another during that time, but we have managed to maintain our original criteria to ensure that the apprenticeship is fit-for-purpose for the construction and allied sectors. We look forward to industry supporting this apprenticeship and making the construction and lifting sectors an attractive place for new recruits to develop a long-lasting career.”
The Trailblazer Apprenticeship Programme was launched in England in 2013 following the Richards Review of Apprenticeships which concluded that there was a need to redefine what an apprenticeship was, and that the original traditional values of an apprenticeship needed to be reinstated.
The report made a number of recommendations that were taken on board by the Government for the Trailblazer Programme and set out in the English Apprenticeships 2020 vision document. A set of principles were established that put employers in the driving seat, increasing the quality and consistency of apprenticeships, simplifying the system to aid understanding, and giving employers purchasing power and choice in the delivery of an apprenticeship.
The existing apprenticeship framework within England is intended to be phased out by 2020 and replaced by these new standards-led apprenticeships. There are no changes planned for apprenticeships administered through Scotland and Wales and continue to be offered through the existing framework programme. The CPA is also providing a project management service to employer development groups for a number of other Trailblazers, namely Construction Equipment Operative, Construction Equipment Maintenance Engineering (Mechanic and Technician) and Hire Controller (Plant, Tools & Equipment).