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Apprenticeships require a vigorously applied vision

Dear Sir,

I read with interest and concern in equal measure some of the comments regarding apprenticeships in the H&V News 22 May issue, p10.

Unless we as an industry can introduce some fresh thinking on apprenticeships we will struggle, when our future stock of skills becomes an issue, to acknowledge what is good policy and what is good practice and where under-performing ideas are still being favoured.

We have to conceive of apprenticeships as a device for unlocking the talent inside young people.

We should think about a career climbing frame - an opportunity for young talent to move across or up through the interlocking ropes of vocational and academic options. In any such vision the role of the apprenticeship remains pivotal.

All of us with a stake in the whole business of re-stocking our national skills base must be vigorous advocates for academic and vocational convergence.

It is the professionalism of individual staff members and their ability to meet skill-based objectives while being able to adjust to their employer’s wider, longer-term goals which make a company successful.

I see apprenticeship and professional formation as a continuum. Within that vision, apprenticeships remain a key element in the renewal of industry skills and in the intensification of professionalism across the economy.

As an example of this, my company Building Engineering Services Training has pioneered a collaborative Professional Apprenticeship programme
with the leading professional institutions in our sector: the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, the Institution of Engineering an Technology and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.

In this envelope, BEST apprentices at level 3 can achieve recognised professional status as engineering technician grade to enable progression via technical and/or supervisory management routes. This dual-track approach offers multiple linkages towards professional status.

Dr Mark Brenner, CEO, BEST

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