From education to employment

Take off for Drone Academy at NPTC Group of Colleges

NPTC Group of Colleges is working with key partners to further enhance the development of its Drone Academy which will be offering training programmes to help benefit the industry in Wales and beyond.

In terms of industry-led drone training and support, the College is the only one in the UK working with ECITB and others including Sellafield and Railtrack to run specific tailored programmes.  Working together, the training will offer a comprehensive approach to support this growing sector.

The use of drones in industry, safety, search and rescue is well documented, and given the high level of heavy industry in Wales, like steel, nuclear, refineries, wind turbines as well as the emerging Rail Centre of Excellence, the Academy will deliver the high level of skills required.

ECITB Drone Training Standards are currently in development and are being trialled in the industry before going live and they have been well received.  The College has put some of its own staff on the development course along with managers from Network Rail and Sellafield.

ECITB Product Development Manager Reg Rudd comments: “The engineering construction industry (ECI) has seen a dramatic increase in the utilising of UAS because of their flexibility, ability to reduce disruption to production and obvious safety advantages, this has meant the interest from the ECI has increased significantly.

“Employers within the ECI either train their own operatives or develop their understanding of the requirements of their inspection scope when subcontracting their site inspections to third party organisations; in a rapidly changing technological environment this no small task

“ECITB has formed a working group from the ECI and UAS training providers to develop training standards that will support our registered companies understanding of the UAS capabilities and benefits.”

Jayne Jones, Head of Business Development at NPTC Group of Colleges said the College is focusing its efforts on developing provision that will meet the emerging needs of Net Zero, Digital and Industry 4.0.

“Our collaborative way of working is allowing us to support the delivery of industry-leading qualifications, work with market-leading trainers and technology professionals, alongside ensuring we deliver the skills that are in demand, all based on our employer feedback mechanisms.  Market-leading projects such as the Drone Academy drive our passion further and work even harder to meet the needs of the businesses and communities we serve.”

One of the attendees on the course, Liam Barrington, Project Manager with Network Rail, said he wanted to achieve a higher level of drone competency which he could share within his organisation. “The most enjoyable aspect of the course has been learning about new planning and ECI procedures. I will recommend future drone pilots in Network Rail attend this course.”

Also taking part was Sean Joss, Acting Section Manager with Network Rail, who added: “I wanted to take the course to learn new processes and procedures in relation to a completely different industry. It was very in-depth and furthered my knowledge and understanding with the flying the most enjoyable aspect of the course.”

Mechanical Engineering Technician Levi Harris, of NPTC Colleges, said: “I wanted to take part in the course because I wanted to further my knowledge. I enjoyed the practical aspects as I was able to learn to fly the drones and capture images.”

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