Items relevant and of interest to the construction equipment industry

Land-based Engineering Trailblazer Standards approved for use

Land-based Engineering.  Get used to the phrase.  Within the context of apprenticeships for construction plant service and maintenance engineers it is vital that you do.


On December 16th the Skills Funding Agency approved for use the two Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards on which the CEA has been working in partnership with the agricultural sector’s Land-based Engineering Training & Education Committee (LETEC) for most of the past year.  This successful outcome has provided the construction equipment sector with standards that describe the job role that apprentices will undertake and the skills required of them by the Land-based Engineering (LBE) sector and are pitched at Level 2 for ‘service engineers’ and at Level 3 for ‘service engineering technicians’.  The good news extends further in that the LBE standards have been placed in the highest funding band for government funding under its new regime to commence in May 2017.


In 2015 the CEA Skills Advisory Panel identified the need to analyse the construction equipment sector’s apprenticeship training needs within the context of the (then) relatively new UK government policy of developing new sector-specific ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeship standards.  We quickly recognised the importance of such standards with respect to service engineers as these employees are the backbone of construction plant manufacturers and their dealers and there was widespread recognition that steps much be taken to ensure they are provided with the right structured training programmes and with recognised career paths.  This need was also driven by the government’s intention to remove funding for existing ‘Framework’ apprenticeships by 2020 and also by pressure put on the supply chain by the public sector and other clients.  Moreover, the government’s imposition of the Apprenticeship Levy from May at 0.5% of employers’ pay bills over £3 million will have a significant impact on larger companies.  Therefore, for employers to derive best value for the spending of training vouchers that are to be used as part of the levy scheme, it makes sense to have apprenticeship standards tailored specifically to our sector.


Discussions early last year with LETEC regarding its previously-approved LBE Trailblazer demonstrated the closeness between construction plant and agricultural plant and that they share most of the generic requirements for underpinning technical skills and knowledge.  Consequently, our efforts throughout 2016 were to serve the interests of construction plant by defining and securing approval for an appropriate pathway for use within an amended LBE Trailblazer rather than shaping a new, separate Trailblazer which would have involved considerably more time and cost and risked not being approved by government due to its closeness in character with the LBE Trailblazer.  The work has involved close engagement with the agricultural sector, the Skills Funding Agency, training providers and training assessment bodies and now continues on the development of the associated assessment plan for the Trailblazer – approval of which is anticipated by April, ahead of the introduction of the government’s new regime for apprenticeships funding in England.


The LBE Trailblazer standards are available on the website and can be readily accessed via the CEA Skills Portal at as can the government’s updated guidance on the changes to apprenticeships funding, and on the Apprenticeship Levy and how it will work.  Particular actions for employers to consider in the immediate term future are:


  • Employers subject to the Levy will, from May, be able to chose a provider from a new register – the Register of Approved Training Providers – so they should check that their preferred provider is included on the register. Larger employers may intend to provide their own training in house, in which case they will need to be on the register.
  • Levied employers will also need to register with HMRC for the government’s digital payment scheme
  • Employers operating across UK national borders as the new apprenticeship funding regime applies to England and the regime will not apply to those apprentices receiving their training in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.


Automotive Council UK Report on Employers’ Views of the Jobs and Skills Required for the UK Automotive Industry 2016

This report sets out to identify skills needs both to fill current vacancies and to meet the needs of a growing industry.  It offers proposals to meet these needs through training, apprenticeships and also by promoting the industry as one that offers secure, rewarding employment opportunities.

Access the report here: 

EXTERNAL LINK:Views of the Jobs and Skills Required for the UK Automotive Industry


National Apprenticeship Week 2017

National Apprenticeship Week 2017 is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service.  It is designed to celebrate the positive impact apprenticeships and traineeships have on individuals, businesses and the economy.  It will take place from 6-10 March 2017.  More information is available here:

EXTERNAL LINK: National Apprenticeship Week 2017

Skills Funding Agency Business Update

The latest issue of the Skills Funding Agency’s Business Update for November 2016 is available.  It includes information and guidance on:

  • the increase to the National Minimum Wage
  • the Skills Show 2016
  • the Apprenticeship Levy
  • the online Find Apprenticeship Training service
  • the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers

See also the Funding for Employers section of this Portal.  

EXTERNAL LINK:Skills Funding Agency Business Update

EEF Skills Report 2016: An Up-skill battle

Manufacturers’ plans to drive productivity improvements and to capitalize on the digital industrial revolution could be derailed because the UK is struggling to provide the right quality and quantity of skills to meet the sector’s needs.  And with demand for skills set to rocket the situation is about to spiral further.

This report cautions that the challenges of finding funding, retaining and retraining skilled workers are likely to increase and that many employers’ proactive plans may be set back as they feel the bite of the additional costs imposed through Government policy.

Access the report here: 

EXTERNAL LINK:EEF Skills Report 2016

New UKCES Masterclass Sessions Announced (March 2015)

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills has announced two new masterclass sessions, offering expert views and insights into skills issues in the UK.

The free sessions, taking place in March and April, will cover two new topics – discussing future issues and challenges facing Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) working on vocational education and training, and examining the changing face of graduate jobs in higher education.


Evaluation of the apprenticeship trailblazers: interim report – BIS research paper 213 (March 2015)

This report looks at the apprenticeship trailblazers one year on from the launch of the first standards in March 2014.

The research involves 16 of the trailblazers and explores:

  • How trailblazer networks are established and structured
  • The processes involved in developing standards and detailed assessments
  • Employer responses to the national principles
  • The overall satisfaction of employers with the development process

PDF DOWNLOAD: Evaluation of the Apprenticeship Trailblazers (Interim Report)

EEF Skills Manifesto 2015 (March 2015)

Launched as part of National Apprenticeships Week, this report sets out EEF’s key ambitions to be achieved by 2020 that will lead to improvements in manufacturers’ abilities to access skilled employees and meet the skills demands of the industry.

The report makes a number of recommendations for the next government and outlines five key ambitions:

  • For three-quarters of employment in the UK to be classified as medium or high skilled
  • To reduce the number of hard-to-fill vacancies in manufacturing to 25%
  • To increase the number of UK engineering graduates by 25%
  • To increase the number of advanced and higher engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship achievements by 25%
  • For the proportion of maths and science teachers at school holding at least a post A-level qualification in their subject to increase to 90%

In order to achieve these, three areas for priority action are identified:

  • Sustained growth in the talent pipeline for manufacturing
  • Investment in the national skills infrastructure
  • Employers must play a greater role ion driving forward the skills agenda

PDF DOWNLOAD: EEF Skills Manifesto

Manufacturing, Britain’s Future (February 2015)

EEF makes clear in this report, launched at its annual conference on 26th February, that British manufacturing’s future success will ‘STEM’ from skills.

The report sets out how the fourth industrial revolution is upon us, and how, in the global battle for dominance, innovative firms can take the lead and help position Britain as the manufacturing and technology hub of Europe.
PDF DOWNLOAD: Manufacturing, Britain's Future

Automotive Industrial Partnership – Launch (March 2015)

Car manufacturers area united with government backing to secure a skilled workforce for the future. The £30 million Automotive Industrial Partnership was announced by Business Secretary, Vince Cable in January and was formally launched at the House of Lords on 12th March.