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Industrial consortium ready for 2018 cohort

HIGH demand for places on a groundbreaking apprenticeship scheme is being anticipated as a second intake is prepared for after a successful launch.

Industrial consortium ready for 2018 cohort

Many leading process engineering companies in the region have united to form the Science Industries Apprentices Consortium, with training provider HETA winning a competitive tender in May last year to deliver the skills.

Working as a collective, it has allowed a full cohort of learners to be brought together, training to an industry-developed standard. Individually each organisation would only have had a small requirement.

Credited with enhancing employability and progression opportunities for trainees entering the engineering profession, the 19 businesses that make up the consortium will also have the reassurance of knowing that future recruits are trained to the same level regardless of where they completed their qualification.  

Rob Fenner, operations co-ordinator at VPI Immingham, one of the largest combined heat and power plants in Europe, said: “The consensus is that the enthusiasm and work ethic of the apprentices on the programme has been a real testament to the training HETA is providing.

“The skills it is delivering on behalf of SIAC, will certainly prepare participants for the world of industry.”

Standardised training through the programme developed in partnership with HETA, will represent a fundamental change in how the SIAC companies will recruit their future manufacturing, process and analytical engineers.

“This apprenticeship will now be the primary route in for any young person with an ambition to work for a leading chemical manufacturing company in the region,” Vivergo Fuels’ training and competency lead, Philip Wilkinson,  said. “It will also present them with a distinct advantage when it comes to progressing their engineering careers.”

The companies involved are: Air Products, APT, BASF, BP Chemicals, Cristal, Croda, INEOS, Lenzing Fibers, Nippon Gohsei, Novartis, Nufarm, Oil & Pipeline Agency, Phillips 66, PX Ltd, Syngenta, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery, Triton Power, Vivergo Fuels and VPI Immingham.

HETA, which operates in Stallingborough, Scunthorpe and Hull, is reporting a significant increase in student recruitment figures compared to this point last year, which means that potential applicants should consider their options early.

The team believes the introduction of the new standards, which enable apprenticeship programmes to be created directly by the industry, are proving attractive to learners looking for practical choices that enhance their future employment opportunities.

HETA’s operations manager, Matt Gardner, said: “With the Science Industries apprenticeship standard, we have seen a significant shift towards an increase in practical training. When our first cohort leaves us in the summer to join their respective companies, it will be one of the best prepared groups to start making a meaningful contribution with immediate effect.” 

This is strongly reflected by the feedback that HETA has received from current students.

Apprentice John Patrick says: “When I applied to HETA, I had a picture in my mind that there would be a lot of practical work and I have not been disappointed. I feel the workshop training and support I have received from my tutors is really preparing me for joining Vivergo Fuels in the summer. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Open evenings and taster days are now being held and prepared for.

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