The Institute for Apprenticeships’ chief executive spoke at a special parliamentary event to celebrate a landmark in end point assessments (EPAs) passed by the Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service (EUIAS).
The event in the House of Lords was organised by EUIAS to celebrate passing the 500-mark of apprentices who had completed EPA on new apprenticeship standards in their sector.
Sir Gerry Berragan congratulated the apprentices, their employers, trainers, and assessment teams for leading the way with the development of standards and EPAs tailored to the skills needs of businesses operating in energy and utilities. He said:
I was delighted to celebrate this landmark achievement, in such prestigious surroundings, with the apprentices and many other people who’ve helped them along their path to success.
Their sector deserves recognition because it is one of the most trailblazing of all those involved with developing new apprenticeships.
The gas network craftsperson level three apprenticeship was one of the first eight standards approved for delivery back in 2015, and it had the first apprentices to complete end-point assessments (EPAs).
There are now over 600 apprentices who have completed from the energy and utilities sector, out of just over 4,000 who have passed EPAs across all sectors.
This shows how quickly they were off the mark, with adopting and adapting to the new wave of apprenticeships. They have been exemplary.
Another speaker at the event was the 500th apprentice to pass through EUIAS.
Having completed his level three gas network craftsperson apprenticeship, Jack Steel, aged 21, is now a first response operative for major gas distribution firm Cadent.
He talked about how his dad convinced him to start on an engineering-related apprenticeship, after things did not work out with his original ambition of becoming a professional footballer with Grimsby Town, who he played for as a junior. He said:
I don’t really understand why degrees are still viewed by many people as more prestigious – the chance to get paid while learning was too good to me.
It has been a great experience and to think it has now led to me speaking in the Houses of Parliament is amazing.
Other major utility-based organisations that EUIAS provides end-point assessment to includes National Grid, Severn Trent Water, UK Power Networks and United Utilities.
They actually passed the 500-mark early last month, and it was revealed at yesterday’s event that 633 had now completed.
EUIAS chief executive Nick Ellins said:
This event in parliament was created to enable our main sector stakeholders to meet the talent that is emerging under the new apprenticeship reforms.
It enabled us to hear directly from the utility employers and their apprentices on their actual experience of learning under the new standards and being rigorously end point assessed via the Energy & Utilities Independent Assessment Service.
By deploying a sectoral approach that is centred in the workplace demands of the employers, the audience witnessed the first 500 high quality apprentices to move into vital roles within the UK workforce, and witnessed the work at the cutting edge of implementing these reforms being publicly recognised.
The utility sector employers, and the EUIAS end-point assessment body, were rightly recognised as being the ‘trailblazer of trailblazers’ and praised for directly helping UK plc to address its skills shortages.