The IET and Summit Skills have just published a survey online asking for feedback and input on changes to the Electrotechnical Apprenticeship framework. You may or may not be aware that all apprenticeships are being reviewed as part of the new Trailblazers project. A trailblazer will essentially set the industry standard for that industry and a handful of industries have been selected as a first round including Electrotechnical and Energy & Utilities.
There are also a number of organisations heavily involved in these projects so for the Electrotechnical project companies such as Balfour Beatty, Barlows Electrical, Daly Limited, Darke & Taylor Ltd, The IET & The JIB are all involved. This review is great for the industry and the input of these organisation is invaluable as they are clearly very influential members of it. But what about the voices of the smaller contractor many of whom are employed by the companies listed above. Is their voice really being heard?
The survey does give almost anyone a chance to have their say, however we have only just found out about this survey and the closing date is actually the 3rd February 2014. That doesn’t give us or anyone else in the industry much time to get involved.
We would hope that the process of gathering responses to this survey could be extended whilst more people in the industry have a chance to contribute. We feel it is great that standards are being reviewed and updated, however if they are going to be reviewed we need to ensure the process is not rushed and that the smaller micro businesses get to input their thoughts, opinions and suggestions.
I have just taken the survey and whilst it asks some meaningful questions one key element appears to be missing. The survey doesn’t ask who I am, what I do and why my opinion is relevant. It simply asks if I am an employer or not. This is because apprenticeships are considered to be only relevant for employers and anyone else’s opinion does not matter.
This is possibly one of the most important aspects of the apprenticeship that needs to be addressed. Its content and structure is geared towards the minority of electricians who are employed by a large company. In fact most large companies employ more electrical sub contractors than they do full time electricians. It is the opinion of these people on the ground actually doing the work we feel needs to be included in this consultation. Yes they may not be employers but they are the ones doing the job day in and day out who fully understand what is required to work independently as an electrical contractor.
If you have the time and feel you can contribute please get involved and add your opinion. We simply wish there was more time to get this message out and gather more responses, maybe there will be following this blog post?