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Setting New Standards For Apprentices

17 June 2015

Costain is a playing a key role in the creation of improved apprenticeships designed to deliver the skills both apprentices and industry need.

The Company is one of a group of leading employers and business organisations working together on Trailblazer projects to establish new standards for apprenticeships. The initiative follows an independent review of apprentices in 2013, which called on the Government to improve the quality of apprenticeships and make them more focused on the needs of employers.

Costain is helping develop standards for new apprenticeships in two areas: engineering project controls and nuclear welding inspection.

Through Shane Forth, Director of the Project Management Office (PMO) at Costain’s Natural Resources Division, Costain is the lead employer proposing the Engineering Project Controls Apprenticeship Trailblazer on behalf of a team of 18 employers and skills bodies that includes Magnox, National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN), the Association of Cost Engineers and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB). Depending on approval from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, they hope to have the new apprenticeships in place from 2017.

Said Shane: “Project controllers play a vital role in businesses that operate at the cutting edge of developments in society and technology, but for more than 20 years the UK has suffered from a shortage of suitably skilled and experienced engineering project controllers. This undermines the UK’s ability to deliver large-scale engineering projects in the global market place.

“The Trailblazer programme offers a fantastic opportunity to help us reverse this trend and to attract the bright, young people into the industry that we and other companies so desperately need. I believe the kudos the Trailblazer brings will significantly raise the profile and standing of the profession – helping to put it on a par with others and so increase the numbers entering.”

The Nuclear Welding Inspection Trailblazer (NWIT) also aims to address skill shortages in its sector. Steve Smith, Head of Quality Control at Costain’s Natural Resources Division represents Costain on its 21-member panel.

He said: “Sellafield Ltd invited Costain along with other supply chain partners to help develop the new British Standard and Assessment Plan for this new apprenticeship. It will enable Sellafield Ltd and other employers in the nuclear industry to grow their own personnel with the ability to perform nuclear welding inspection.

“The NWIT apprenticeship scheme has been developed by the Nuclear Employer Group, which includes the first ever collaboration between The Welding Institute (TWI) and the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT) to develop a qualification which will be known as the CSWIP/PCN 3.1 Nuclear Welding Inspector.

“The Trailblazer scheme provides a new route to recruitment of young talent to produce competent nuclear technicians who will perform a vital role for the future UK nuclear civil programme including decommissioning, new nuclear build and UK nuclear defence. And with a limited resource pool available, it’s a very timely initiative too.”

The Nuclear Employer Group aims to have the first intake of new apprenticeships approved for first delivery in the 2015/16 academic year.


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