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Friday, 09 February 2018 00:00

Who knows the skills needs of industry better than industry itself?

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Mark StewartGuest Blog by Mark Stewart, HR Director and Country Manager at Airbus UK

Aerospace operates in a very regulatory environment and for obvious reasons the safety and quality of our aircraft are of paramount importance to us. Because we take safety so seriously, millions of people each year can fly on an Airbus plane in full confidence that it has been put together and maintained properly and will get them to their destination.

We in Airbus operate globally and, as a global company, we know that learning, skills and qualifications awarded in the UK are well recognised as being a good indicator of capability and competency in other countries.It’s important that in looking to refresh and improve the current approach to education and learning, we do not lose sight of the needs of employers, who ultimately have to be confident in the quality of the end product so that they can be certain those they recruit will meet their standards.

This is why it’s vitally important that employers within the Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector are involved in shaping apprenticeships, standards and qualifications that are reflective of their needs.  Employers and those undertaking the learning need to feel confident that their apprenticeships can be transferable and recognised between sectors and across the UK - not to mention internationally, as companies like Airbus operate across borders and engineering is a global industry.

The new T-Level in Engineering and Manufacturing must likewise meet the needs of industry, and employers need to also recognise their responsibility to engage with local education and training institutions to ensure that our current and future needs are catered for.

When we talk about employer ownership, the first question we must consider is: Who knows the need of industry better than industry itself? Any customer does not take kindly to being ignored by their suppliers. Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering sector employers are repeatedly saying that, given the safety-critical nature of some engineering qualifications, a single End Point Assessment is not be enough to demonstrate the full range of critical competences employers are looking for. If that’s the message then, given the safety-critical nature of our sector, it’s important that these concerns are recognised and addressed by Government and the Institute for Apprenticeships.

This report comes at a crucial time for UK Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, with apprenticeship standards bedding in, employer direction of apprenticeship funding now underway, the new T-Level coming and a fresh wave of reform unleashed in higher education. I hope that the research and findings contained in this report will be carefully considered by policy makers, government and employers. Our sector cannot afford to get this wrong - our hard-won international reputation, in aerospace and in other AME sectors, is on the line.

Read 4395 times Last modified on Monday, 12 February 2018 09:34