The directors of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) are delighted to announce that they have received confirmation today from the Department of Education that they can proceed with their development of a Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship under the new Government Trailblazer arrangements which came into force on April 1st this year.
FBHVC developed and have been operating an apprentice programme with OFQUAL accreditation for the last three years and some 60 youngsters are at various stages in their training both at Bicester Heritage and at the P&A Wood in-house Apprentice School. However the new funding model that Trailblazer delivers plus the fact that the government funded training is no longer restricted to 16-18 years olds, opens up a wealth of opportunities for recruiting more of the badly needed trainees to replace the craftsmen and women leaving the £5.5 billion pound industry through retirements.
FBHVC therefore reviewed their curriculum, and building on the experience of the last few years have made significant enhancements to the course which were incorporated in the “expression of Interest” submission required by the Department of Education before Trailblazer Apprenticeships with their more challenging criteria can be authorised to proceed. Karl Carter, FBHVC Training and Skills director, and the driving force behind the current scheme explained the key differences and improvements. “ Trailblazer courses will be much more intellectually challenging but they will still be grounded in hands on skills. In the initial stages the emphasis will be on fundamental engineering skills. These will be applied then throughout the rest of the course and in the latter stages students will be able to adopt a range of specialisms. For the first time we have been able to broaden the course to embrace other transportation sectors like steam and aviation and this will help to recruit sufficient students for each course to give colleges the critical mass they need to make courses financially viable. Another improvement, that our experience has told us will encourage more recruits, is the introduction of block release courses to run alongside the current day release format”
Commenting on today’s announcement FBHVC Chairman, David Whale said, “We are all tremendously excited by this news which is a huge tribute to all those who have worked tirelessly and voluntarily to deliver this brilliant training opportunity. What young aspiring engineer would not want to work on Britain’s amazing array of heritage transportation? And it is entirely appropriate that with the broadening of it’s scope and focus on the traditional engineering skills, the course be re-launched under the Heritage Engineering Apprenticeship banner.”