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Technical apprenticeship scheme celebrates 100% success rate

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The Technical Shared Apprenticeship scheme, first launched by Cyfle Building Skills in partnership with NPTC Group of colleges in September 2017, continues its 100% success record, with all apprentices having gone on to gain employment directly after completion of the course.

The innovative scheme is based in South West Wales and enables young adults to gain sustainable employment within the construction industry through shared apprenticeship training, mentoring, and meaningful work experience opportunities.

It allows individuals to combine practical work experience with study for a work-based, vocational qualification, and enables apprentices to gain the technical knowledge and real-life practical experience necessary to enter the job market, giving them a head start towards their future career.

Industry specific knowledge and skills are acquired through a mix of theory-based learning – which takes place in college one day a week – and practical placements within established construction businesses. This allows the apprentices the opportunity to embed the new skills they have learned into a real-world context.

During the apprenticeship, students work towards a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment and must complete a work-based portfolio to achieve an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Construction Contracting Operations. The minimum entry criteria for the scheme is five GCSE’s at C grade or above, including Mathematics (minimum grade B) and English. Candidates for the Technical Apprenticeship are recruited following completion of their first Technical BTEC year or a Craft Level 2 or3 qualification.

The 2-year apprenticeship rotates students through several different employers, providing them with the opportunity to experience a variety of different job roles, such as construction management, quantity surveying, engineering, civil engineering, and design & planning. 

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To date, 25 apprentices have completed the Technical Shared Apprenticeship with Cyfle Building Skills and NPTC Group of colleges, all of them going on to secure positions within one of the organisations with which they had been placed during their time on the scheme.

This proven, flexible approach to training apprentices also has huge benefits for employers, as it allows them to dip in and out of apprentice training for as long – or as short – a period as they have the capacity.

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Whilst enrolled on the scheme, apprentices are recruited and employed by Cyfle Building Skills, meaning there are no ongoing employment commitments for employers offering placements, and support is given from a local Cyfle project coordinator.

It also helps participating businesses to meet community engagement targets, take advantage of contract opportunities, and gives them the opportunity to evaluate and train future employees.

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Employer partner, SO Modular operations director, Charlotte Hale, explained: “The Technical Apprenticeship Route has been a great programme for SO Modular to be involved in, as we have benefited greatly from it.

“We believe hiring apprentices is a productive and effective way to grow talent and develop a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Not only does the apprentice route benefit SO Modular as a company, but crucially it benefits the apprentices themselves as they are provided with a good foundation for a career, and it helps open doors and break down barriers that others might face.

“At present we have 3 office-based apprentices – two Designers and one Quantity Surveyor – as well as a variety of factory operatives, and we look forward to introducing further individuals to our ever-growing team where everyone gives their best and strives to help one another.”


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50 new construction apprenticeships created in South West Wales

Cyfle Building Skills, a construction shared apprenticeship scheme operating in South West Wales, is delighted to announce that it has recruited 50 new apprentices onto the scheme, despite the challenges of COVID-19. The scheme has secured the funding and placements for the 50 apprentices despite the economic distribution of 2020. In effect, it means the creation of 50 much-needed new jobs in the area, which has been…

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Chris Cutforth, section leader at Swansea Council Building Services, added: “At a time where industry is ‘creaking’ and struggling from a position of behind the curve of Technical resource provision, the Technical Apprenticeship route has proven to be a lifeline for Swansea Council Building Services.

“Technical professions are by their very nature ‘transient’ and it is more than evident that – as a region – all we are doing is sharing the same pool of resource. The Technical Apprenticeship route has offered the locality ‘additionally’ to help cope with industry’s demands by increasing the supply of this much-needed professional resource.”

Pat Hogan, Deputy Head of the School Building Engineering Services, NPTC Group of Colleges, said: “As a college, we are delighted to see the volume of students entering apprenticeships this year. The pandemic has had a great impact on many businesses, and it is good to see the industry recovering and supporting young people in the transition from education to training and on to employment. 

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“The working partnership we have with Cyfle Building Skills on the technical shared apprenticeship route is proving extremely successful. Cyfle, in conjunction with a large number of employers in the area, really invest in their time into developing our trainees and apprentices to give them the best opportunities they can, whether this has been into employment or onto higher education at university.”

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Rhys Fisher, Cyfle/Skills Academy coordinator, said: “We’re very proud that all 23 technical shared apprentices have gone into employment after completing the course. They have all progressed on to the next stage of their development, and companies are happy to fund them as they have seen what the student is capable of during the apprenticeship.

“The technical apprenticeship also helps the student chose the pathway they want to progress in by giving them the opportunity to try a variety of different roles and, therefore, the NVQ they complete with us is very broad. It is also a way for apprentices to prove their value to companies, and that’s how they end up progressing. The site experience that employers so often ask for is evident if they chose our Technical Apprenticeship.”

If you would like further information on Cyfle Technical Shared Apprenticeships, either as an apprentice or an employer, please contact Rhys Fisher on 07813 490 427 or e-mail rhys.fisher@nptcgroup.ac.uk

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Lead image: Former Cyfle Building Skills apprentice, Lynsey Davies


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Education

High voltage safety award for Martin

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Mechanic, Martin from Newtown has been recognised after completing the latest safety training for working on electric vehicles

Newtown College has been offering Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training since early 2020 after a pioneering move by Newtown College Motor Vehicle department to keep with the changing needs of the automotive industry.

These part-time courses are industry recognised and were introduced with the support of Welsh Government for specialist equipment and Personal Learning Account (PLA) funding. The introduction of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) courses Level 1- 4 came after recognition of a need for Motor mechanics and related tradespersons to become industry competent, to meet the needs of the growing popularity of electric and hybrid cars.

Many of those who have completed the courses are from local businesses. One of which is Martin Stevens from Electric Classic Cars (ECC) in Newtown.

Martin has completed Level 2 and Level 3 of the ILM Awards and now sits on the safety board of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). Martin explains that the training was essential for his role as senior Electric Vehicle Technician at Electric Classic Cars, a local company that turns classic cars into electric vehicles giving them a new lease of life and making them road fit for the 21st century.

The company whose notoriety grew quickly following its success in car conversions and appearances on TV shows such as Guy Martins: The World’s Fastest Electric Car and Fully Charged, as well as having their own show Vintage Voltage, which features the ECC mechanics tackle a range of classic car conversions now employs a team of 15 staff.

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ECC are committed to having all workshop staff Awarded the IMI Electric and Hybrid Vehicle training.

Richard Morgan, CEO of Electric Classic Cars and star of Discovery TV show ‘Vintage Voltage’ (Image: Discovery TV)

CEO Richard Morgan said: ‘This training is imperative for our members of staff. Like any qualification, it provides a level playing field of knowledge. The content covered in the course reinforces the awareness of safety standards required when working with high voltage equipment. We are lucky that the local college and lecturer Dan Prichard were forward-thinking enough to react quickly to the training needs of the industry”.

Dan Pritchard, Lecturer said: “The course is open to anyone interested. It starts with basic vehicle and safety awareness at level 1, maintenance and repair at level 2, Level 3 would be for those working on low voltage systems carrying out diagnosis and repair, and level 4 is for high voltage system diagnosis and repair”.

He went on to say: “It’s great to support the local workforce like Electric Classis Cars and to help others prepare for a move away from petrol and diesel to electric and hybrid. We have not just had onsite training but have also been involved in virtual training to International interests such as our recent collaboration with delegates in India. After all, lowering carbon emissions is of worldwide interest and the focus on electric and hybrid vehicles is one of the largest changes seen in the Automotive industry in over 50 years.”

(Lead image: NPTC Group of Colleges)

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Business

RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services inspire next generation of building services professionals

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South Wales-based building services provider, RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, continues its 33-year long tradition of exhibiting industry-leading commitment to fill the skills gap and inspire the next generation of building services engineers.

The electrical and mechanical service provider maintains its award-winning commitment to training by taking on four new apprentices: two as heating and ventilation apprentices and two as electrical engineers. In addition, the firm has sponsored a fifth to continue his professional development as part of a two-year HNC course.

Embarking on a three-year apprenticeship through BESA (Building Engineering Services Association) at Cardiff Vale College, RDM’s two heating and ventilation apprentices are Sam Coleman and Joshua Mabe.

The heating and ventilation apprenticeship course will cover a variety of industrial, commercial and domestic skills. Course modules include the safe use of plant and equipment, installation of copper and low carbon piping, installation and design requirements of hot and cold water heating systems, the use of welding technology and equipment, and all associated health, safety and risk assessment techniques and practices.

Upon completion of their apprenticeships, they will achieve an NVQ Level 3 in mechanical engineering services, and a provisional Building Engineering Services Competence Assessment license upon successful completion of testing to BESCA standards.

RDM’s two electrical apprentices – Troy Davies and Luke Byrne – are undertaking a four-year apprenticeship through JTL at Neath Port Talbot College.

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The course will see them attain a Level 3 Electrotechnical qualification in installation and maintenance. The course covers modules including electrical scientific principles and technologies, design and installation practices, understanding terminations and connections of conductors, fault diagnosis and rectification, and all associated health, safety and environmental considerations.

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In addition to these apprentices in mechanical and electrical engineering services, the South Wales-based firm have sponsored a fifth, Mo Elgamal, enrolling him on to a two-year level 4 HNC course in Construction and the Built Environment (Building Services Engineering) at Bridgend College.

Elgamal’s course will see him learn more about construction technology, science and materials, construction practice and management, mathematics for construction, and the principles of design and installation for heating services, ventilation and air-conditioning.

Steve Pridmore, Operations Director of RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, said: “It’s a great privilege for us to help support, train and inspire the next generation of building services engineers. We are, therefore, delighted to welcome all our new apprentices to the team, and wish them a successful and enjoyable apprenticeship with us.

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“It is vital for our industry that we find the very best talent to fill the skills gap we have in the construction sector, and we believe it is our duty to ensure we train and mentor enthusiastic and dedicated individuals to achieve their potential. We wish them well and are sure they all have a bright future ahead of them in the electrical and mechanical services industry.”

To find out more about how you could become an apprentice with RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, contact them at rdmems.co.uk/contact-us.

Lead image: (left to right): Steve Pridmore, Operations Director RDM, Mark Sainsbury, Mechanical Director RDM, Apprentices – Troy Davies, Luke Byrne, Mo Elgamal, Sam Coleman, Joshua Mabe, and RDM Contracts Manager, Chris Phillips.

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Business

J.G. Hale Construction supports South West Wales Onsite Hub

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Welsh building contractor, J.G. Hale Construction, has welcomed its third cohort of South-West Wales Onsite Construction Hub work experience placements to its Neath town centre site, being developed for Coastal Housing.

The South West Wales Onsite Construction Hub programme is funded by the Construction Industry Training Board’s (CITB) Onsite Experience Commission, and designed to help tackle the skills gap within the construction industry.

The programme is coordinated by Cyfle Building Skills – an innovative initiative enabling young adults to gain sustainable employment within the construction industry.

The scheme will provide 780 onsite construction work experience opportunities, over a three year period, to candidates across five South Wales regions: Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea, and Neath Port Talbot.

Each candidate is provided with a full mentoring programme, two weeks of onsite work experience, alongside all associated training and reskilling. The aim is to equip students to become work-ready for the construction sector.

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After successfully completing their placement, each candidate is provided with a toolkit worth £150, equipping them for a future apprenticeship course and career in construction. They also receive a £200 course completion payment.

The programme is available for individuals aged 16 plus, either considering a career in construction or those looking for a change in career path. Opportunities are also provided for individuals who are not currently in education, training, or employment (NEET), or at risk of becoming economically disengaged.

Rhys Fisher, Cyfle Skills Academy coordinator, said: “Work Experience is essential in any industry, and I have to thank everyone that has bought into it to provide these opportunities. It’s a fantastic pre-apprenticeship programme that provides an incentive for both the candidates and employers.”

“To enable the project’s success, an extensive partnership has been created between Cyfle Building Skills, CITB, local colleges, local authorities, regional training groups, Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC), the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), housing associations like Coastal Housing, and contractors like J.G Hale Construction.”

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David Harrhy, J.G Hale Group managing director, added: “It’s refreshing to see Cyfle’s Onsite Construction Hub – a new and innovative project supporting individuals on their route into construction. We are delighted at J.G Hale Construction to have already been able to facilitate placements on our Neath town centre development, in partnership with our client, Coastal Housing Group. We will continue to collaborate with our clients, to offer further opportunities across our developments.”

Clare Watkins, TR&T manager at Coastal Housing, said: “Coastal Housing Group ensures that opportunities for apprenticeships, work and training are created as part of all our developments. We are pleased to be part of ensuring this latest cohort of young people interested in the construction industry have the opportunity to experience it first-hand at our Neath Town Centre project.”

J.G Hale’s Neath town centre development, will offer a mixture of 12 residential homes, and five commercial units, for client, Coastal Housing, and is due for completion during the Autumn of 2021.


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