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Revolutionise Apprenticeship Training: The NAS (National Association of Shopfitters) in collaboration with the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Launches Centre of Excellence Network

Revolutionise Apprenticeship Training: The NAS (National Association of Shopfitters) in collaboration with the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Launches Centre of Excellence Network

18-Jul-2016

 

The NAS and BWF have launched a new Centre of Excellence (CoE) network of colleges and training providers to ensure the survival of quality apprenticeship training for the joinery and wood machine industry. In the wake of the government’s decision to implement an apprenticeship levy and the industry’s call for quality skills training, the CoE pilot concept could not have come at a better time. 

The launch of the CoE network was marked with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by four Centres from across the UK: Building Crafts College (Stratford, London), Didac Limited (Bristol), Leeds College of Building (Leeds), and Neath Port Talbot College (South Wales).

The ultimate aim is to ensure there is a Centre in each region, with Didac able to offer national in-house apprenticeship training provision, so that the network has nationwide coverage from the off.

Centres have agreed to be audited by the NAS/BWF to ensure that they:

  • Commit to the new apprenticeship standards developed by the industry
  • Provide a flexible approach to content, allowing employers to choose the elective units they need from an apprenticeship qualification and ‘bolt on’ additional modules to meet the needs of business
  • Provide truly impartial information, advice and guidance to employers and apprentices, to ensure they use the right qualification, units, and training that meets their needs
  • Work with the BWF, NAS and the other providers in the network to be able to offer all options within a qualification and expand the offering to make training tailored to an employer’s specific training needs
  • Promote and contribute to industry’s efforts to bring in more new entrants and promote continuous professional development
  • Robert Hudson, Director of NAS, explains: “The CoE concept gives the industry the opportunity to access high quality and flexible apprenticeship training that includes bench joinery and wood machining. These Centres were selected as part of the pilot as they have actively engaged with us and employers to ensure they offer the skills employers want and need. Over the coming months, we’ll be honing the CoE concept to ensure it delivers for employers, apprentices and providers and will look to expand the network”.

    Each apprentice will be on a nationally recognised apprenticeship framework/standard and will have the option of adding extra modules needed for their training to meet employer needs. This will be packaged together as a NAS/BWF Apprenticeship, raising the bar on government requirements.

    CITB has supported the pilot, including the financial support of a research exercise to map demand for joinery apprenticeship training and the supply currently available. The results will inform the second phase of expansion for more Centres across the UK.

    Over the coming weeks, NAS/BWF will issue formal guidance to members and the wider industry on how to access the new flexible model for apprenticeship training.

    To discuss the CoE network in more detail and how it can help your business, contact NAS Director, Robert Hudson at rhudson@shopfitters.org or call 01883 624961.