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Engineering and manufacturing route review report

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Introduction from the chief executive

The engineering and manufacturing route review is the fifth of the Institute’s route reviews. The aim of our reviews is to provide an opportunity to listen to employers, providers, stakeholders and apprentices to get a better understanding of the technical qualifications and skills they need, both now and in the future. This has enabled us to gain a better understanding of the challenges employers are facing as they develop their future workforce.  The engineering and manufacturing route is our largest route in terms of apprenticeship standards and this will soon be complimented by 3 new T Levels in 2022.

Employers stand at the heart of the work we do, and we have worked closely with them through this review. I would like to thank all those who have taken the time to contribute, as well as those who have developed occupational standards in the engineering and manufacturing route. Your feedback is vitally important to us, and we want to understand how the reforms that were introduced in 2012 through the Richard Review are working for you. Our 2021-2024 strategic plan, published in October 2021, focuses on three key areas:

  • Delivering for employers
  • Building a more integrated skills system
  • Securing continuous improvement

So whilst the review itself may have concluded, we cannot achieve these without a continued dialogue with the sector, including on meeting the needs of the green economy and contributing to the Government’s net zero commitments.

I am pleased to be able to present the engineering and manufacturing route review which aims to ensure that all of the occupational standards included in the review provide the training needed by the sector for its current and future workforce. We have sought to find consensus in the evidence and views received in order to arrive at the best possible solution for employers and thereby learners.  These learners include those who will undertake the new T Levels and Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) for the route.  We are hopeful that the recommendations will help ensure that apprenticeships and technical education supports the sector recover from the pandemic. The Institute acknowledge that the last eighteen months have been turbulent, and with this in mind, we are committed to supporting trailblazers fully and work within realistic and reasonable timelines.

Jennifer Coupland
Chief Executive

 

1. Introduction from the chair and vice chair of the route panel

Graham Honeyman CBE (left) and Nicola Johnson FIMechE (right)

The engineering and manufacturing route offers an extensive range of careers with many opportunities to progress and transfer skills. This route review has provided an opportunity to take a closer look at the importance of engineering and manufacturing occupations within the UK economy and ensure that the occupational standards which apprenticeships, T Levels and higher technical qualifications (HTQs) are based on provide the sector with the right skills and growth for the future.

As route panel chairs, we have been able to see the positive impact that the apprenticeship programme has had on the sector and the wider economy. In the last 11 months, there has been an 11% increase in learners starting an apprenticeship in the engineering and manufacturing sector. We are delighted that the technical education provision for the route is expanding, with the introduction of three T Levels which will be delivered to students from 2022. 2022 will also see the launch of the HTQ approval process. New and existing level 4 or 5 qualifications will be submitted through the Institute’s approvals process and will receive a quality-mark if the qualification satisfies the approvals criteria. First teaching will commence in 2024. Having a suite of technical qualifications at level 3, 4 and 5 will provide stability and consistency across the route by ensuring alignment to employer-led occupational standards. 

The continuing development of apprenticeships and technical qualifications will ensure that there is a more coherent and all-encompassing system to enable skill gaps to be addressed more readily, progression routes to be clearer, diversity to be increased and support for net-zero goals to be achieved.

The outcomes of the route review provide widening access to opportunity through apprenticeships and technical education provision. They will support development within engineering and manufacturing careers, making these occupations truly representative of the populations they serve. We recognise that some of the decisions have been difficult, however we commend the review as being in the best interest of the sector overall. The route panel is now committed to working closely with trailblazer groups to bring the recommendations into being.

The key outcomes of the review are:

  • An updated occupational map that sets out the target shape of the technical education provision for the engineering and manufacturing route, according to the needs of employers.
  • Principles for future approvals decisions, including ensuring occupational standards consider environmental/sustainability issues, ensuring they reflect the latest technological developments and are ‘future proofed’, and ensuring they maximize the opportunities for widening participation in engineering and manufacturing careers.
  • Recommendations to help improve the quality of the standards in scope, including the broadening of trailblazer groups, the separation of some core and option standards to ensure they reflect clear and distinct occupations, the updating of technology requirements, and the inclusion of more ‘soft’ skills.

As we share the findings of this review, we hope that the sector can continue to remain resilient and find creative solutions by working together, sharing the lessons learnt and thinking about how we can develop and adjust going forward.

By having up-to-date, relevant technical skills, acquired through high quality training, we will continue to rival our international competitors and help to protect the wide range of skills that underpin industries essential to the economy.

2. Overview of the engineering and manufacturing route

This report details the outcomes of the Institute’s engineering and manufacturing route review. The route review has looked in detail at 58 occupational standards, including standards approved prior to the formation of the Institute, to ensure that they reflect current practice and meet the Institute’s quality criteria.

There are currently 145 occupational standards, approved for delivery, in the engineering and manufacturing route. The route spans a wide range of sectors, including automotive, rail, aeronautical and maritime, science, textile, food and drink, water and utilities.

In many cases apprenticeships have provided the first nation-wide opportunity to provide a trained pipeline for occupations that have previously relied on less formal entry routes.

The route provides opportunities for new entrants with limited knowledge of the sector to start their journey at level 2 and 3, right up to experienced professionals who wish to develop skills, and progress in the sector, at level 4, 5, 6 and 7.

In the route there are:

  • 33 standards at level 2
  • 52 standards at level 3
  • 20 standards at level 4
  • 6 standards at level 5
  • 21 standards at level 6
  • 13 standards at level 7

In addition, there are 12 standards that are currently in development or are proposals in development from level 2 to level 7.

Three new engineering and manufacturing T Levels will be available to learners from September 2022, providing additional, high quality, training opportunities at level 3. Designed with businesses and employers, T Levels are two-year, technical qualifications designed to give students the skills that industry needs. They bring classroom learning and an extended industry placement together, providing a mixture of:

  • technical knowledge and skills specific to their chosen industry or occupation
  • an industry placement of at least 45 days in their chosen industry or occupation
  • relevant maths, English, and digital skills

T Levels are one of three major options for students to study at level 3. Alongside apprenticeships for those who wish to study and train for a specific occupation, and A Levels for students who wish to continue academic education.

In addition, cycle 3 for HTQs will launch in 2022, for first teaching from 2024, and cover standards in the engineering and manufacturing route. HTQs are level 4 or 5 qualifications that have been quality marked by the Institute to indicate their alignment to employer-led occupational standards. New or existing level 4 or 5 qualifications submitted to the Institute’s approvals process will receive a quality-mark if the qualification satisfies our approvals criteria. HTQs align to existing occupational standards, providing learners with entry-level competence and allowing them to enter their chosen profession or progress onto higher education.

The government is committed to making study options much clearer at level 2 and 3 for students aged 16 and over.

The Institute is currently implementing an approvals process that will set out clear expectations of technical qualifications at level 3. The employer voice is a key part of this, and technical qualifications will be expected to align to the Institute’s occupational standards, which set out key training requirements (the knowledge, skills and behaviours) for different occupations

The route review, and subsequent revision and updating of standards provides an ideal opportunity to ensure that there is coherence across the route. It will ensure that learners, employers and stakeholders have a route that encompasses both apprenticeships and technical qualifications that can be utilised in conjunction with the occupational maps.

3. Review aims and methodology

Aims of the review

Route reviews are an opportunity for the Institute to take a strategic look across each of the 15 technical education routes, ensuring the occupations and skills match the needs of employers now and in the future. They also look at whether technical education programmes are relevant and up to date, ensuring they deliver for both employers and learners.

This is the fifth of the Institute’s route reviews. Each one is guided by four key principles:

  1. The reviews focus strategically on the route, the occupational map and the apprenticeship standards in scope.
  2. Employer led. Reponses from the review consultation and engagement with employers inform the recommendations. These are reviewed by the route panel for that route, made up of industry experts.
  3. Open and transparent. We engage with stakeholders throughout the review process. Following confirmation of the review recommendations, we agree a suitable timetable for trailblazer groups to update apprenticeship standards.
  4. Joined up. The review’s recommendations support the wider technical education landscape and take into consideration the potential impact on different technical education products.

The review was announced in September 2019 and paused in March 2020 due to COVID-19. However, we felt it was right to restart the review in September 2020 as more employees returned to work. The review will help employers to deliver a return on their investment in skills and help to drive economic growth and productivity. It will also improve the experiences of current and future apprentices within the route, enhancing their opportunities for career progression.

Summary of methods used

The review has been conducted by the Institute and has been employer-led and evidence-based at every stage. The recommendations stem from input from employers, professional bodies and skills organisations. Draft recommendations have been discussed with trailblazer groups to ensure they are workable and avoid any unintended consequences.

We have also gathered feedback from a sample of apprentices and WorldSkills, to make sure the needs of learners are represented. The review’s recommendations have been discussed with and agreed by the engineering and manufacturing route panel which is employer-led.

The review has consisted of four main stages:

  1. Consultation phase: This involved a public consultation on the standards in scope and the occupational map where stakeholders were invited to complete an online questionnaire. Additionally, a peer review of the standards in scope was completed by industry experts.

We also commissioned a report which was prepared for the Institute by Enginuity. Enginuity were selected to prepare the report following an open and fair procurement process. Enginuity held a series of external virtual and regional workshops. These cross-consultation events consolidated the three top priorities, set out in their report, for the Institute to consider as part of the route review.

The Institute has responded to the three top priorities in the following ways:  

  • Flexibility to respond to the pace of change.

Our new revision process, put in place after the consultation, allows for a more streamlined way to amend standards. We are also futureproofing standards by ensuring that where possible, the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) include broad reference to technology and regulation.

  • Simple and steady changes to avoid breaking the system.

We have adapted the route review implementation timeline in recognition of the challenges following the pandemic and product managers will be working closely with trailblazers to ensure the pace of change is sensible.

  • Provide a definitive statement about the role of qualifications.

We understand the frustration at the perceived lack of clarity about the role of qualifications in occupational standards. We are reviewing the current policy to ensure that it reflects the needs of employers and occupations however this is a substantial piece of work and therefore requires time to get it right. As part of this, we ran a consultation on degree apprenticeships in the summer of 2021, the outcome of which will report later in the year and see policy changes in 2022. In the meantime, we are not actively working to remove qualifications from apprenticeships and early engagement with the trailblazer and product managers will ensure that, where necessary, the right qualifications can be included within the standard and the apprenticeship can be developed accordingly.

  1. Evaluation phase: During this phase the consultation responses were analysed and the individual standards in scope of the review were assessed against Institute requirements. The early findings were discussed with trailblazer groups.
  2. Recommendation phase: The findings from the review were shared and discussed with the route panel and trailblazer groups. The report is being published as part of this phase and we will be working with our stakeholders to update them on the findings of the review.
  3. Implementation phase: This phase is ongoing and involves the agreement of a timetable for updating standards with trailblazer groups, followed by the updating of the standards in scope and associated assessment plans.

We have taken care to ensure this review is aligned with other developments in the technical education landscape, particularly the approval of T Levels and HTQs. This provides confidence that recommendations are durable and future-focused. It has also allowed us to share insights from this review with other areas of work, so that everyone is aware of the challenges facing employers and the experiences of those delivering apprenticeships on the ground.

Selection of standards in scope

The following criteria were used to determine which occupational standards were in scope for the review:

  • Occupational standards which were approved for delivery prior to the establishment of the Institute in April 2017 and had not been significantly updated since.
  • Occupational standards where concerns have been raised over the content.
  • Occupational standards that did not comply with the Institute’s occupation requirements.

This resulted in 58 standards being in scope for a detailed review.  

4. Current and future challenges within the route

  1. Brexit

The route review was conducted during the approach to exiting the European Union (Brexit), we know that these changes will bring new challenges and opportunities for a range of sectors and the skills system.

  1. Covid and economic recovery

Engineering and manufacturing has responded resiliently to the many challenges presented during the pandemic, some of which are noted in the Make UK- Manufacturing outlook

  1. Sustainability/Net zero

The UK has a target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Prime Minister set out his Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution and skills will play a big part in this green recovery. The government plans to create and support 2 million good quality, green jobs by 2030 to support the UK to transition to net-zero. The work of the green apprenticeships advisory panel (GAAP) will ensure that the Insitute are central to plans for the creation of these jobs in the development of future occupational standards.

The panel advise where existing apprenticeships map to new green jobs or could be made greener and also where new apprenticeships could be created to address new and emerging skills gaps in the green economy. The panel have also endorsed 15 green and 29 supportive of green apprenticeships as part of the National Green Jobs Taskforce work facilitated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Education (DfE). 

  1. Electrification

To meet the 2050 net-zero targets new skills will be required including the increased need for electrification. As multiple sectors transform to fully electric production, new skills, upskilling and reskilling will need to take place across a range of sectors including rail, automotive, marine and energy. The National Electrification Skills Framework and Forum will provide an opportunity for a range of stakeholders to participate in the electric revolution and drive its development.

  1. Understanding and utilising the latest technology

The engineering and manufacturing sector has a long tradition of utilising technology to better enable people to carry out their job roles.  Therefore, there will be a continued need to consider how new and emerging technology can be integrated into training and job roles.

5. Outcomes from the route review

As part of the review, the engineering and manufacturing route panel developed a set of key principles and characteristics for the route, which are set out below. These are concepts that the trailblazers are asked to consider for inclusion in all engineering and manufacturing occupational standards.

Principles are applicable to all occupations in the route (including any that may be added to the occupational map later). The principles are likely to be relevant to all technical education programmes within the route – including apprenticeships.

Characteristics may be common across multiple standards in terms of KSBs. Trailblazers have been asked to consider the relevance of these characteristics for their standard and include as appropriate.

Alongside the principles and characteristics trailblazers were also provided with recommendations, specific to their standard, to ensure that apprenticeship standard criteria is met.

Key principles and characteristics for future approval decisions

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).  

Trailblazers should emphasise the continued importance of STEM within the route and its occupations as being technical and STEM-based. This could be achieved by inclusion in occupational standards, wider technical education programmes or qualifications. There may be opportunities for employers and others, such as education providers, to actively promote how STEM is used in the route’s occupations.

There is a continued importance for maths and problem-solving skills in this route.  

The extent and level to which maths and problem-solving should be included in the standard should be considered by trailblazers when drafting the KSBs. 

Within this route, technology can be used to enable people to carry out their job roles more effectively and efficiently.  Therefore, trailblazers should continue to consider how new and emerging technology can be integrated into training and job roles e.g. batteries within newer technologies.

Equality, diversity and inclusion 

The Institute recognises that bringing the best possible talent into engineering and manufacturing sector is vital to the success of apprenticeships, T Levels and businesses across the sector. To get the best people, the engineering and manufacturing route should aim to attract a more diverse talent base. This includes gender, ethnic, geographical and socio-economic diversity. 

To ensure that the route continues to encourage and support diversity across the sector it is important that trailblazers describe occupations in a way that is inclusive of those from all backgroundsTrailblazers are also asked to consider how they can enable people from a range of backgrounds and regions to take up an apprenticeship.  For example, by using technology to make content more accessible and promote technical education more widely to increase diversity in the sector.  

Inclusive language will help ensure an occupation appeals to the widest possible audience. On our website we have guidance on both language readability and gender-neutral language to help support employers to use plain English and gender-neutral language.  

Health and safety 

Health and safety, including both personal safety and that of others is of high importance for engineering and manufacturing occupations. For example apprentices working on our railways  must demonstrate that they are able to keep themselves and others safe by adhering to safe working practices and that they understand and comply with statutory regulations and organisational safety requirements, including safe access to work locations.

Those who are training in industry through an apprenticeship or other technical education means have an important role to play in promoting and demonstrating safe working practices.

The apprenticeship package (including assessments) and other technical education programmes or qualifications may be able to incorporate health and safety in a way that makes clear its importance within an occupation.  

Professional membership 

Professional membership has a significant role for those working in engineering and manufacturing occupations, including an important contribution to how individuals are recognised by employers as competent and ensuring that they are informed of changes within their industry. 

Completion of some apprenticeship standards enable membership to professional membership organisations or chartered status.

Environmental/ sustainability issues 

This is fundamental within all routes, with the potential to significantly influence wider changes by driving forward innovations and best practice in engineering and manufacturing industries.

Trailblazers should consider new innovations and working practices, which will contribute to the achievement of net zero and the wider green economy goals when updating and developing new standards and technical qualifications. This will support the UK in achieving its commitment to national and international sustainability goals. This includes the government’s commitment of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. 

It is therefore important that trailblazers should, as far as possible, include knowledge and skills statements which consider sustainability, and the impact that sector has on the environment,  utilising the Institute’s sustainability framework. The Institute, including the GAAP,will provide support to trailblazers. 

Research and development 

There were many European bodies that were accessed before the UK left the European Union, there is need to address the gaps created in engineering and manufacturing industries because of this. In addition, trailblazers will need to consider how standards are futureproofed and how the sector will respond to new developments and challenges that are on the horizon as a result of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

Customer service and communication skills 

Those training and working in all areas of the engineering and manufacturing route need to be able to communicate effectively and at an appropriate level.

Communication may be in business-to-business contexts and with direct customers/end users. Engaging with others effectively is important within the route’s occupations. 

Trailblazers should consider how soft skills will be included, to meet customer needs, when drafting KSBs. 

Teamworking

This is of high importance for occupations within the route. Having a teamworking ethic embedded through occupational standards and technical qualifications will support learners in understanding personal and public safety. In addition, it will support learners in understanding how their role fits within the bigger picture.  

Digital skills

In addition to communication skills, those in the sector need to integrate digital skills into their ways of working and to support their business operations. For example, this may include the use of software packages and having a good awareness of how to effectively use social media, which may extend to novel problem-solving. Having an awareness of potential adverse effects related to social media misuse in work or personal contexts is also valuable. 

A number of occupations within the route will also make use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). 

Trailblazers should consider the extent and level that digital skills should be included within KSB for the standard. 

Legislation 

There is potential for increased regulation in this route because of the United Kingdom exiting the European Union, the full extent of which is yet to be determined.  

Therefore, there will be a continued need to consider how new regulations should be integrated into the occupational standard. 

Trailblazers should consider when drafting the KSBs how legislation should be covered within KSBs for the standard. 

Recommendations for the occupational map

Apprenticeships and T Level qualifications are based on occupational standards. The standards set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be fully competent in any occupation. The occupational standards are the foundation for the Institute’s technical education programmes within route. An apprenticeship would require the appropriate on-programme and end-point assessments to be developed, utilising the relevant occupational standard as its foundation.

The post review engineering and manufacturing occupational map can be found on our website.

The maps group occupations with related KSBs into pathways, making it easier to see the opportunities for career progression within that route. Within each pathway, occupations at the same level are grouped into clusters, to show how skills learnt can be applied to other related occupations.

The occupational map is owned by the Institute’s route panel which is made up of industry experts. Route panels use the maps to support decision making on occupational standards, T Levels and route reviews. The map enables the panel to identify additional occupations that need to be developed or which need to be merged with others or withdrawn.

There are three pathways in the engineering and manufacturing occupational Map and they are: 

  • Engineering, design and development
  • Maintenance, installation and repair
  • Engineering, manufacturing process, and control

Within each pathway, occupations at the same level are further categorised into clusters, to show how learnt skills can be applied to other related occupations.

Consultation responses

As part of the online public consultation that formed part of the engineering and manufacturing route review, respondents were asked a series of questions about the occupational map.

181 respondents completed some or all of the questions we asked about the occupational maps. The majority, 114 respondents, said that no further occupations should be added to the engineering and manufacturing map.

67 respondents identified occupations they felt should be added to the map. Some occupations were suggested by multiple respondents. Similar suggestions were considered together.

31 respondents thought some occupations were misplaced on the map and should be moved or changed. Nine occupations were suggested as needing to be prioritised for development into apprenticeships.

Methodology

We analysed all of the responses relating to the occupational map and reviewed them against both the current maps and the apprenticeship standards on the Institute’s website.

Where respondents suggested new occupations for the map, we undertook research to establish whether the suggestion is a recognised and standalone occupation. This involved checking against the Institute’s occupational criteria, SOC codes (the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is a common classification of occupational information) the National Careers Service website, and vacancies advertised on indeed.co.uk and specialist job sites. We also looked at whether the duties, knowledge and skills required for the occupation are covered by existing occupational standards.

Summary of recommendations

The following changes have been made to the map following consultation feedback:

In the engineering, design and development pathway:

  1. Process development technician – Remove (this is covered by engineering manufacturing technician, and/or lean manufacturing operative).
  2. Applications engineer – Remove (this is covered by engineering manufacturing technician).
  3. Technical coordinator – Remove (this is covered by existing occupational standards in the construction route)

In the engineering, manufacturing, process and control pathway:

  1. Electrical maintenance – Remove (this is covered by installation electrician/maintenance electrician in the construction route).
  2. Process development technician – Remove (this is a duplicate entry).
  3. Technical service manager – Remove (this role is considered too similar to engineering services manager occupation).
  4. Textile care operative – Move to the plant operative/technician cluster (Operate plant and equipment for a part/sub process).
  5. Supplier assurance manager – Remove (this is covered by quality practitioner).
  6. Electrical power networks engineer – Move to the installation, service, repair and/or overhaul advanced technician 
  7. Quality manager – Move (previously in quality improvement and project control manager cluster).
  8. Safety engineer – Move (previously in quality improvement and project control manager cluster).
  9. Compliance director – Rename (new title: engineering compliance manager).

In the maintenance, installation and repair pathway:

  1. Automotive problem-solving senior technician – Rename (new title: senior motor vehicle technician).
  2. Engineering service manager – Move (this was previously in the design and development technical manager cluster).
  3. Electronic engineer – Remove (this is covered by embedded electronic systems design & development engineer and/or electrical/electronic technical support engineer (degree).
  4. Planning & commissioning director – Rename (new title: commissioning engineer).
  5. Telecommunications engineer – Remove (this is covered by embedded electronic systems design & development engineer (degree).

The following occupations have been suggested for prioritisation for development into occupational standards:

  • Product development manager
  • Chemical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Simulation & modelling engineer
  • Glass manufacturing operative
  • Quality manager
  • Safety engineer
  • Engineering compliance manager

Whilst continuing to engage with employers to understand when new occupations should be prioritised, we are aware that over the coming 12 to 18 months large volumes of work will be taking place with trailblazers, revising and updating standards that have been part of the review. In line with the Enginuity report’s three guiding principles, product managers will be working closely with trailblazers to ensure the pace of change is sensible to avoid breaking the system when prioritising new standards for development.

Summary of recommendations for the standards in scope of the review

As part of our engagement with trailblazer groups, it was clear that some wanted to start updating their occupational standards as soon as possible. For 34 of the occupational standards in the review, there was sufficient agreement within the Institute (including the route panel) regarding the changes required that has meant we have been able to adopt a staggered approach to the Review. These 34 standards are in ‘tranche 1’ of the Review. Trailblazer groups with tranche 1 standards have been able to start redevelopment ahead of a detailed recommendation being approved by the engineering and manufacturing route panel, should they choose to do so.  The route panel will review the tranche 1 revised occupational standards using our business-as-usual approvals process once amendments are made.

In the tranche 2 group, the engineering and manufacturing route panel reviewed 24 occupational standards this summer and feedback was provided to trailblazer groups in relation to the changes required. Once these trailblazer groups received this feedback from the Institute, they have then then able to commence revising their occupational standards.

In both tranches, we set out a number of general conditions that all trailblazers were asked to consider when amending standards. This is in addition to specific guidance points for each occupational standard.

The general conditions that trailblazers were asked to consider when updating standards were that:

  • The standard includes duties in the occupational profile which align to the knowledge, skills and behaviour statements. The occupational profile should cover the full range of employment settings in which this apprenticeship could be used.
  • Any options within a standard meet current Institute criteria.
  • All mandatory qualifications, included in a standard, meet the Institute’s ‘additional qualifications’ current criteria, which can be found on our website
  • Trailblazer membership is reviewed to ensure it is representative of employers for the occupation.
  • The standard is as accessible to a diverse range of people as possible. For example, by using plain English and inclusive language that is gender-neutral.
  • Digital skills are incorporated into the standard appropriately. 
  • Soft skills are incorporated into the standard appropriately. For example, teamwork and communication skills at the appropriate level.
  • There is appropriate coverage of ethical and environmental considerations.
  • Trailblazers consider the principles and characteristics of the route.

The high-level recommendations for each of these standards are as follows:

Tranche 1 standards

Design and development pathway

Recommendation

ST0164 – Engineering design and draughtsperson (level 3)

  

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0027 – Product design and development engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0151 – Embedded electronic systems design and development engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.  

Manufacturing process and control pathway

Recommendation

Fabrication and welding cluster

 

ST0349 – General welder (Arc Process) (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0358 – Non-destructive testing operator (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0288 – Non-destructive testing engineering technician (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0059 – Boat builder (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Manufacturing process and control pathway

Recommendation

Manufacturing, plant and process cluster

 

ST0203 – Furniture manufacturer (level 2)

Decommission the standard  The trailblazer should develop individual occupations or smaller core and options occupations

ST0144 – Mineral processing mobile and static plant operator (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0393 – Advanced dairy technologist (level 5)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. In addition, the standard should be reviewed against similar standards to ensure it is distinct and standalone, and that there is transferability.

ST0025 – Manufacturing engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0024 – Electrical/ electronic technical support engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0023 – Control technical support engineer (degree) (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.  It is recommended that ST0023 is reviewed alongside ST0024 by the group and a merge of the two standards is considered.

ST0289 – Nuclear scientist and nuclear engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0380 – Nuclear technician (level 5)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. 

ST0291 – Nuclear operative (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.  In addition, the trailblazer group should consider merging the three occupations of Nuclear Health Physics Monitor, Nuclear Decommissioning Operative and Nuclear Process Operative into a core and options standard given the significant overlaps between the two current standards of Nuclear Health Physics Monitor ST0290 and Nuclear Operative ST0291 (which contains two options currently).

ST0407 – Process automation engineer (level 7)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Manufacturing process and control pathway

Recommendation

Quality and improvement cluster

 

ST0290 – Nuclear health physics monitor (level 2)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.  In addition, the trailblazer group should consider merging the three occupations of nuclear health physics monitor, nuclear decommissioning operative and nuclear process operative into a core and options standard given the significant overlaps between the two current standards of nuclear health physics monitor ST0290 and nuclear operative ST0291 (which contains two options currently).

ST0292 – Nuclear welding inspection technician (level 4)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0163 – Project controls technician (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0369 – Non-destructive testing engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Manufacturing process and control pathway

Recommendation

Food and science cluster

 

ST0199 – Food and drink process operator (level 2)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0196 – Food and drink advanced process operator (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

The standard was reviewed, updated and approved in September 2021. The standard has been retitled as “food and drink technical operator”.   

Manufacturing process and control

Recommendation

Print and packaging cluster

 

ST0309 – Print technician (level 3)

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Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Maintenance, installation and repair

Recommendation

Manufacturing/process cluster

 

ST0160 – Water process technician (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0195 – Food and drink maintenance engineer (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. Feedback suggested that the multi-skilled maintenance engineer option is better suited for the industry needs. We therefore recommend that the trailblazer considers keeping the multi-skilled maintenance engineering option as a single, core occupational standard, with the possibility to incorporate relevant detail from the mechanical option into the updated occupational standard.

ST0156 – Power network craftsperson (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0157 – Electrical power and plant commissioning engineer (level 4)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Maintenance, installation and repair

Recommendation

service, repair and/or overhaul cluster

 

ST0498 – Specialist tyre operative (level 2) 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.  

ST0352 – Accident repair technician (level3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer group must ensure that the standard is distinct and standalone from other occupational standards approved for delivery, including  ST0403– vehicle damage repair technician (level 3), ST0405 vehicle damage mechanical, electrical and trim technician (level3) and ST0448 vehicle damage paint technician (level 3) 

ST0014 – Aviation maintenance mechanic (military) (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer group must consider the title of the standard and ensure it is reflective of both military and non-military contexts.

ST0015 – Survival equipment fitter (military) (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer should ensure that the standard is transferable, considering whether there are opportunities to use the standard in non-military contexts.

ST0019 – Aircraft maintenance certifying technician/ engineer (level  4)

Retain and update – The trailblazer was asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

The standard was reviewed, updated and approved in July 2021.

ST0010 – Aerospace engineer (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer is asked to review the titling of the standard.

ST0475 – Electrical power networks engineer (level 4)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

Tranche 2 standards

Design and development

Recommendation

ST0153 – Power engineer (level 7)

 

Decommission the standard – Starts on this standard are low. Although this is a recognised occupation there is a lack of appetite from the sector to deliver the standard in its current format. The sector has highlighted that the standard, in this format is not viable, due to significant structural issues. This is supported by peer review, world skills and Institute analysis.

It is the understanding of the Institute that the trailblazer is working on a fit for purpose proposal that will address the demand for the occupation

ST0456 – Postgraduate engineer (level 7)

 

Decommission the standard and develop new standards – It is recommended that this standard is decommissioned. Where occupations are identified as distinct and standalone the trailblazer group should work towards developing separate occupational standards that reflect the Institute’s requirements..

Manufacturing process and control

Recommendation

Manufacturing, plant and process cluster

 

 

ST0420 – Lean manufacturing operative (level 2)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0458 – Textile manufacturing operative (level 2)

 

Retain if there is evidence of demand  The trailblazer should review employer demand and, if this is sufficiently evidenced, update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0604 – Textile care operative (level 2)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route.

ST0094 – Composites technician (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route

Manufacturing process and control

Recommendation

Quality and improvement cluster

 

ST0457 – Engineering technician (level 3)

Decommission the standard and develop new standards – It is recommended that this standard is decommissioned. Where occupations are identified as distinct and standalone the trailblazer group should work towards developing separate occupational standards that reflect the Institute’s requirements. This may include grouping similar options together into a core and options occupational standard or developing a distinct occupational standard.

Manufacturing process and control

Recommendation

Food and science cluster

 

ST0422 – Science manufacturing process operative (level 2)

 

Request that the trailblazer supply sufficient evidence to demonstrate that this standard should not be decommissioned – Starts on the standard are low and there are similarities with other standards such as lean manufacturing operative. In July, the trailblazer submitted evidence to the Institute that they wanted this standard to be redeveloped. Some duties and knowledge statements for this standard have been drafted. Using only the current standard and uptake as evidence would have led us to the recommendation to decommission, but trailblazers (with Cogent as facilitator) believe they can sufficiently demonstrate differentiation between a level 2 and level 3 standard, and that they cover process manufacturing industries (i.e. chemical) focused rather than discrete manufacturing

ST0250 – Science manufacturing technician (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer submitted evidence to the Institute that they want this standard to be redeveloped with 7 options. The GAAP support battery manufacture technician as an option. The trailblazer (with Cogent as facilitator) have drafted some duties and knowledge statements for this standard and others (including ST0422 above).

ST0249 – Science Industry Maintenance Technician (level 3)

Decommission the standard and create new cross-sector standards – Evidence suggests that there is an opportunity for the trailblazers to work together to create robust and transferable standards which looks at the employer recognised occupations across utilities, energy and science, rather than focusing on the industry.

Manufacturing process and control

Recommendation

Print and packaging cluster

 

ST0296 – Papermaker (level 3)

Decommission the standard. The occupation should remain on the map – This is a recognised occupation and should remain on the map. There is currently insufficient employer interest in using or updating the standard.

Maintenance, installation and repair

Recommendation

Manufacturing/process cluster

 

ST0154 – Maintenance and operations engineering technician (level 3)

 

Decommission the standard and create new cross-sector standards – Evidence suggests that there is an opportunity for the trailblazers to work together to create robust and transferable standards which looks at the employer recognised occupations across utilities, energy and science, rather than focusing on the industry. 

ST0159 – Utilities engineering technician (level 3)

 

Decommission the standard and create new cross-sector standards – Evidence suggests that there is an opportunity for the trailblazers to work together to create robust and transferable standards which looks at the employer recognised occupations across utilities, energy and science, rather than focusing on the industry.

Maintenance, installation and repair

Recommendation

service, repair and/or overhaul cluster

 

ST0067 – Bus and coach engineering technician​ (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer should review employer demand. The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider a core and options approach with ST0068: heavy vehicle service and maintenance technician (level 3).​

ST0068 – Heavy vehicle service and maintenance technician (level 3)

 

Retain and update – The trailblazer should review employer demand. The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider a core and options approach with ST0067: bus & coach engineering technician (level 3).​

ST0066 – Road transport engineering manager (level 4)

Retain and update  The trailblazer should review employer demand. The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider merging with ‘ST0037 – passenger transport operations manager’.​

ST0317 – Rail engineering operative​ (level 2)

Retain and update –The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider if the standard is distinct and standalone, particularly when compared alongside ‘ST0318

ST0318 – Rail engineering technician (level 3)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider if the standard is distinct and standalone, particularly when compared alongside ‘ST0317’.

ST0316 – Rail engineering advanced technician​ (level 4)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer should consider the feasibility of merging this standard with ST0528 – high speed rail and infrastructure technician. 

ST0528 – High speed rail and infrastructure technician (level 4)

Retain and consider merging – The Trailblazer group should consider merging this standard with ST0316 rail engineering advanced technician. High speed rail and infrastructure technician is a specialised role but it requires underlying knowledge of conventional rail networks and infrastructure.

ST0495 – Rail and rail systems engineer (level 5)

Decommission the standard – – The standard does not meet the Institute’s formatting requirements. ​The Trailblazer group have identified that this standard is not meeting the needs of the sector and work is underway on an alternative standard that meets the need of the sector.

ST0496 – Rail and rail systems senior engineer​ (level 6)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider if the standard is distinct and standalone, particularly when compared alongside ‘ST0497’.

ST0497 – Rail and rail systems principal engineer​ (level 7)

Retain and update – The trailblazer is asked to review and update the standard to align with the latest Institute format requirements. Alongside specific conditions for this standard, the trailblazer is asked to consider the general conditions related to the route. The trailblazer are asked to consider if the standard is distinct and standalone, particularly when compared alongside ‘ST0496’.

The outcomes of the review have been shared with the trailblazer groups for the occupational standards in scope. Product managers within the Institute will work with them to implement the recommendations.

6. Implementing recommendations and next steps

Role of trailblazers

The trailblazer groups will work with their product manager to implement the recommendations from the review. Trailblazer employer groups have already started work with Institute product managers on implementing recommendations from the review and the process will continue through 2022. This will mean a period where two versions of the standard are available at the same time, dependent on when a learner started their apprenticeship.

Role of the Institute

The Institute will provide support to trailblazers throughout the updating of their occupational standards and encourages honest and open dialogue.  The timeline for updating the standards is set at 12 months, but this is flexible given the challenging economic circumstances following the pandemic.

Updated documents will go through out business as usual process. This will include updating the assessment plan in line with the changes made and, if necessary, the funding band.

7. Technical education provision

T Levels

In this route, there are three T Levels that will be available for learners to start from September 2022 onwards. The engineering and manufacturing T Levels contain core content that all learners study and occupational specialisms of which learners select to study. The T Levels and specialisms are as follows:

T Level

Occupational specialisms

Aligned standards

Design and development

Mechanical and engineering

Electrical and electronic engineering

Control and instrumentation

4Structural engineering

Engineering design and draughtsperson

Manufacturing, processing and control

Fitting and assembly technologies

 

Engineering technician options:

  • Aerospace manufacturing fitter
  • Aerospace manufacturing electrical/mechanical and systems fitter
  • Maritime electrical fitter
  • Maritime mechanical fitter

Engineering fitter

 

 

Machining and toolmaking technologies

 

Engineering technician options:

  • Machinist- advanced manufacturing engineering
  • Toolmaker and tool and die maintenance technician

 

 

Composites manufacturing technologies

Boat builder

Composites technician

 

 

Fabricating and welding technologies

Pipe welder

Plate welder

Metal fabricator

Non-destructive testing engineering technician

Maintenance, installation and repair

Light and electric vehicles

 

Motor vehicle service and maintenance technician (light vehicle)

Accident repair technician

 

Maintenance engineering technologies – mechanical

Maintenance and operations engineering technician

Higher Technical Qualifications

Engineering and manufacturing HTQs are currently scheduled for launch in cycle 3 in 2022 with the intention for first teaching from 2024. More information regarding HTQs and the planned approvals rollout is on our website.

Skills Bootcamps

The government’s successful Skills Bootcamp training programmes will be expanded to every region of the country, offering an extra 16,000 fully funded places for adults to upskill or retrain.

The expansion covers a range of and technical training, in scope of the engineering and manufacturing route, covering green skills, such as solar energy installation, nuclear energy

8. Summary of the Institute’s commitments

We recognise that, as a result of the route review, trailblazers will be undertaking large volumes of work to strengthen and future proof standards within the route and the Institute will endeavour to support trailblazers throughout this process. As part of the strategic plan the institute is committed to promoting a continuous improvement philosophy and new approaches to ensure all our customers have good experiences with the Institute. We have listened to employer feedback on the Route Review process. The Institute is making changes to how it conducts route reviews in the future. The new approach is currently being piloted in the construction route and further details are available on our website.

To support in the development and delivery of review recommendations, the Institute has committed to supporting trailblazers by taking the following actions:

  1. Maximising the transferability of apprenticeship standards by ensuring trailblazer groups represent all types of employers.
    The diverse range of employers within the engineering and manufacturing route means that it can be challenging to develop occupational standards that meet all their needs. The Institute will support trailblazer groups to ensure they represent all types of employers, in accordance with the current policy on trailblazer group formation. This includes small and micro businesses in addition to larger employers.
  2. Supporting the delivery of apprenticeship training and end-point assessment by ensuring training and assessment providers are included in trailblazer group membership.
    The diverse nature of many of the occupations in the route can make it difficult for employers to attract training providers and independent assessors with the required level of skill and experience. It can also make it hard for the training and assessment to be commercially viable, given the relatively low numbers on some standards. The Institute will ensure that all standards within the route follow the current policy on trailblazer formation, which requires trailblazer groups to include training and assessment providers.
  3. Working with employers to promote engineering and manufacturing technical qualifications effectively.
    September 2022 will see the delivery of three engineering and manufacturing T Levels in colleges. The introduction of the maintenance, installation and repair, design and development, and manufacturing processing and control T Levels will broaden opportunities for participation in engineering and manufacturing occupations, helping to make the industry more representative. The Institute is committed to working with employers to promote the range of available technical qualifications, and apprenticeships, within the route.
  4. Working with employers to promote engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships and technical qualifications to a diverse audience.
    Apprenticeships and technical qualifications provide an opportunity to broaden participation in engineering and manufacturing occupations, helping to make the industry more representative. This is particularly true for under-represented groups such as ethnic minorities, women, and people with disabilities, who have traditionally found it more difficult to access engineering and manufacturing careers. Employers will also be asked to consider whether they can promote apprenticeships to older employees as a re-training tool.
  5. Working with employers to meet the 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target.
    Employers in the route are increasingly considering how to reduce the environmental impact of their sectors, e.g. carbon offsetting, reduced waste, choice of materials. Addressing climate change and safeguarding environmental sustainability are also key priorities in the Arts Council’s Ten-Year Strategy.  The UK has a target to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, building a greener country in which skills will play a key part. The government is now planning to create and support 2 million high quality, green jobs by 2030 to support the UK to transition to net-zero. The Institute has set up a new GAAP to ensure that apprenticeships and technical education are front and centre of this ambition. The approvals process for all technical education will ensure the needs of employers within the growing green economy are met. This includes the creation of new standards to reflect new occupations that may, for example, contribute to meeting the challenge to reach net carbon zero or considering how the content of an occupational standard may take account of the green economy where it is not the primary focus of an occupation. The Institute’s new sustainability framework is designed to support the inclusion of proportional sustainable development considerations in new and revised occupational standards at all levels. Trailblazer groups can refer to the sustainability framework when developing an occupational standard to help include sustainable development considerations into knowledge, skills and behaviours that are relevant for each occupation.
  6. Working with trailblazers to ensure occupational standards are accessible to a diverse audience.
    The Institute is committed to supporting greater equality of opportunity across apprenticeships and wider technical education. In the digital route review, the route panel identified that adapting the language used in the occupational standards to make it more gender neutral could encourage more females to take up digital apprenticeships.  We have launched a diversity and inclusion project, this summer, to review all our products and work to make sure they are as accessible as they can be. The project will develop actions and recommendations to improve diversity and inclusion in technical education.  We want apprenticeships and technical education to drive greater equality of opportunity for all. The project will consider accessibility and diversity in relation to gender, ethnicity, disability, age and areas across apprenticeships, the levelling up agenda, T Levels and HTQs.

Its work will include:

  • A review of the diversity of our membership, including route panels and trailblazers.
  • An analysis of diversity data for apprenticeships and what this tells us about starts, completions and progression and how this compares to national statistics and the wider labour market.
  • A review of our existing technical education products – apprenticeships, T Levels and HTQs – to consider how to better support inclusion.

Developing working plans with partner organisations, such as the social mobility commission and the in-work progress commission to further improve opportunities for all.

9. The apprentice experience

Apprenticeships provide an opportunity for wider participation in engineering and manufacturing careers and enable occupations to be representative of the populations they serve.

They enable nation-wide opportunity to provide a trained pipeline for occupations that have previously often relied on less formal routes to entry or offered limited progression opportunities. 

Below are some examples of apprentices, who are positively benefiting from high-quality training and employment opportunities and developing skills which are vital in securing future success in the sector.

Hamzah Ahmed – training to be an aerospace engineer with Airbus

Engineering and aerospace fanatic Hamzah Ahmed, 22 from Bristol, is currently completing a level 6 apprenticeship in aerospace engineering.

Hamzah has always been motivated by challenge and growing up he liked using things like Lego to build robots. He also competed in the NASA space competition and the international future problem-solving competition.

The fast-paced aerospace industry gives Hamzah the opportunity to test himself with new technology.

It is exactly that what really made the industry stand out to Hamzah, who saw the technically challenging problems as an opportunity to be directly involved in the goal to create a more sustainable future.

Not one to rest on just one opportunity, Hamzah had seven different choices to make before deciding on his aerospace apprenticeship. He had been accepted into all five universities he applied for as well as successfully securing another apprenticeship alongside the one he is currently on. The fact that he had so many options and the experience of going through so many applications really helped Hamzah:

Each application and interview I attended helped me for the next and by the end of the year, despite being rejected a few times, I had increased my confidence and the anxiety at interview had gone.

Hamzah completes his four-year apprenticeship later this year. However, in those four years he has already achieved some great things, including being the youngest member in Airbus’ international future leaders’ symposium. Hamzah was enrolled into the scheme at just 18, but despite being one of the youngest, it encouraged Hamzah not to be afraid to challenge the status quo.

Being a part of the leaders’ scheme helped Hamzah to create a multi-faith prayer room and well-being room, something that as a Muslim, is very important to Hamzah.

Hamzah has set his sights on becoming a chartered engineer once his apprenticeship has finished, opening even more doors to him. Keeping an eye out for new opportunities would be Hamzah’s advice to all apprentices. He said:

Keep watch for new openings and different companies will post opportunities throughout the year. Also, you can apply for as many as you like! Even if you don’t think you’ll get in, you will still learn from the process in applying and you can then apply your increase in confidence to the next application process.

Andrzej Zubczyk – training to be a non-destructive testing engineer with Rolls Royce

Hamzah completes his four-year apprenticeship later this year. However, in those four years he has already achieved some great things, including being the youngest member in Airbus’ international future leaders’ symposium. Hamzah was enrolled into the scheme at just 18, but despite being one of the youngest, it encouraged Hamzah not to be afraid to challenge the status quo.

Being a part of the leaders’ scheme helped Hamzah to create a multi-faith prayer room and well-being room, something that as a Muslim, is very important to Hamzah.

Hamzah has set his sights on becoming a chartered engineer once his apprenticeship has finished, opening even more doors to him. Keeping an eye out for new opportunities would be Hamzah’s advice to all apprentices. He said:

Keep watch for new openings and different companies will post opportunities throughout the year. Also, you can apply for as many as you like! Even if you don’t think you’ll get in, you will still learn from the process in applying and you can then apply your increase in confidence to the next application process.

Andrzej Zubczyk, 22, originally from Poland, is an engineering apprentice for Rolls Royce based in Derby. Andrzej moved to England 14 years ago.

The apprenticeship route was always something that appealed to Andy and when it came down to planning his future, he knew why it was right to pick an engineering apprenticeship at Rolls Royce:

The benefits are clear to see, four years of experience and knowledge from world-class engineers, countless personal development opportunities – both within and outside work, a completely funded BEng (Hons) degree and a salary which increases each year subject to good performance. For me it was an easy decision to make!

As part of his role, Andy is responsible for scrutinising the work of other companies to ensure that Rolls Royce are meeting expected standards and doing so sustainably and safely. It’s something Andy says he really enjoys:

What this means for me is that I am trusted with various projects where I investigate material behaviours & characteristics, which gives me opportunities to liaise with suppliers. My favourite part of the job is learning how to operate and use loads of new cool and expensive kit!

The apprenticeship has really helped Andy grow as a person and he would highly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone thinking of taking this route:

It’s a fantastic journey; you learn a lot, you grow a lot, you meet some great mentors (life & work!), have a lot of fun, make wonderful friends, and kick-start your career in something you enjoy. It can be quite challenging at times, and you might sometimes feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin, which is when it’s important to make use of the support networks available to you and remember that the employer, training provider, or university is there to help you whenever you may need it.

Heather Campbell – training to be a railway engineer with Network Rail

Heather Campbell, 25, from Stafford is completing a level 4 rail engineering advanced technician apprenticeship.

apprentice for Network Rail in Birmingham.

Heather’s apprenticeship includes four 6-month placements focusing on the design of railway tracks and signalling systems, how they are maintained, how they are constructed and project engineering.

After school, Heather found herself at university. Heather says she knew straight away that the university route wasn’t for her:

I didn’t know about any other options; however, although it is a great option for many, I knew university didn’t suit me, so I decided to drop out and after a few years of working I knew I wanted to pursue a career. That’s when I found my apprenticeship, which provided education whilst earning a good wage and gaining experience. It seemed like an easy decision and an opportunity to get a career without having to pay out lots to retrain.

It’s a decision that Heather certainly doesn’t regret. Her apprenticeship has allowed her to be flexible and she enjoys the fact that she can try something out before having to commit to it. Heather’s apprenticeship has supported her to her see the bigger picture of the business because she is able to spend time with several different teams, it has supported in developing her knowledge on the whole railway system.

Heather said:

It’s by far the best decision I have ever made. It means that I have a career in the railway sector, but with skills I could take to other industries if I want to. It has given me so much valuable experience that wouldn’t be the case in other routes as I have gained work experience as well as the qualification.

 

10. Technical Qualifications – Further detail

T Levels

T Levels are new two-year technical study programmes, equivalent to 3 A Levels and are delivered in schools and colleges. The content of the qualifications is developed from the knowledge skills and behaviour statements from the occupational standards on which apprenticeships are based. T levels consist of core content (which makes up 20-50% of the qualification) and occupational specialism content, that the learner selects (which makes up to 50-80% of the qualification). T Levels provide sufficient training in one or more occupations to enable a learner to enter skilled employment.

The T Level programme includes:

  • Technical knowledge and skills specific to an industry or occupation
    • An industry placement of at least 45 days in the aligned industry or occupation
    • Relevant maths, English and digital skills.

T Levels will become one of three major options for students to study at level 3. T Levels are 80% provider based, and 20% Industry based.

The aim is that both apprenticeships and T Levels will be able to provide an individual with viable routes into an occupation, recognising that individuals benefit from different types of learning.

The availability of the distinct options for prospective learners to gain the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours will mean that employers have a wider pipeline of prospective employees. This will reduce the overall training cost for employers.

More information on T Levels can be found on our website and on tlevels.gov.uk. Our website has the final outline content for the:

Higher Technical Qualifications

Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) are level 4 or 5 qualifications that have been quality marked by the Institute to indicate their alignment to employer-led occupational standards. New or existing level 4 or 5 qualifications submitted to the Institute’s approvals process will receive a quality-mark if the qualification satisfies our approvals criteria. HTQs align to existing occupational standards, providing learners with entry-level competence and allowing them to enter their chosen profession or progress onto higher education.

There is a growing demand for skills at levels 4 and 5 from employers and students. The number of learners taking qualifications at level 4 and 5 is low compared to other countries and other levels of education.

For HTQs, we have put in place an employer-led approvals process, building on our experience and expertise of approving apprenticeships and T Levels. We will compare the qualifications submitted to employer-designed occupational standards which set out the knowledge, skills and behaviours an individual should achieve to be deemed competent in an occupation. Where a qualification is aligned to the standard, meets any relevant regulatory requirements, and provides the knowledge, skills and behaviours for entry into the occupation it will be approved by the Institute to use the quality mark.  

The approval of HTQs will initially be organised on a route-by-route basis. The first approval process started in September 2020 and focused on qualifications that aligned to occupations in the digital route. The first digital HTQ will be taught from September 2022. 

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