Employer members on the Welsh Regional Steering Group expressed interest in exploring a consortium apprentice scheme to meet the employers need for skilled people and provide opportunity for apprentices to gain wider experience during their training. Responding to Welsh employers dissatisfaction with the provision of apprenticeships locally the Skills Academy decided to go back to basics and work with employers to specify a programme to meet the needs of employers locally.
Key requirements were to develop a scheme that was:
- Sustainable - supported by key employers needing engineering skills
- Scalable – able to be increased and decreased as the local demand for engineering skills for the key employers varies
- Value-Added – able to provide additional features required by employers such as teambuilding and behavioural training and benefiting from the size of a viable cohort
The Skills Academy developed a working group which produced an outline programme for a Level 2 apprenticeship. This introductory phase is now delivered by one of the Skills Academy’s local Quality Assured training providers, Colleg Menai, providing fundamental craft skills and knowledge during a year in college. The second phase is a Level 3 apprenticeship delivered through work based learning and part time in college. This scheme is different from other apprenticeships in that the consortium comprises three different employers with similar skills needs. Individually, none of the employers has enough demand for the number of apprentices to create a company-specific programme. However, in coming together, they can create a viable cohort, enabling a customised programme to be delivered. The customised programme is viewed as being much more suitable than the generic programmes available through the provider.