BWF Launches Centre of Excellence Network to Revolutionise Apprenticeship Training
To ensure the survival of quality apprenticeship training for the joinery industry, the BWF has launched a new Centre of Excellence (CoE) network of colleges and training providers. The network was launched at BWF’s Members’ Day on 7th July – the biggest day in the joinery industry’s calendar – with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) by four Centres from across the UK.
The CoE pilot concept aims to work closely with colleges and private training providers that are committed to delivering the highest quality apprenticeship training, flexible for employers and apprentices, and to ensure the sustainability of provision across the UK. As well as covering excellence in joinery apprenticeship training, the joint initiative with the National Association of Shopfitters (NAS) will ensure pan-sector provision for the interior fit out and shopfitting industries.
The creation of the network is in response to industry’s call to improve apprenticeship training and make it flexible for employers so that training is fit-for-purpose.
Four providers have committed to the pilot: Building Crafts College (Stratford, London), Didac Limited (Bristol), Leeds College of Building (Leeds), and Neath Port Talbot College (South Wales).
The ultimate aim is to ensure there is a Centre in each region, with Didac (shown here signing the MOU with BWF) able to offer national in-house apprenticeship training provision, so that the network has nationwide coverage from the off.
Centres have agreed to be audited by the BWF to ensure that they:
– Commit the new apprenticeship standards developed by industry
– To provide a flexible approach to content, allowing employers to choose the elective units they need from an apprenticeship qualification, and ‘bolt on’ additional modules to meet the needs of business
– Provide truly impartial information, advice and guidance to employers and apprentices, to ensure they use the right qualification, units and training that meets their needs
– Work with the BWF, NAS and the other providers in the network to be able to offer all options within a qualification and expand the offering to make training tailored to an employer’s specific training needs
– Promote and contribute to industry’s efforts to bring in more new entrants and promote continuous professional development.
Each apprentice will be on a nationally recognised apprenticeship framework/standard and will have the option of bolting on additional modules needed for their training to meet employer needs, which will be packaged together as a BWF Apprenticeship, raising the bar on government requirements.
Dave Campbell, BWF Membership and Training Director said:
“The CoE concept gives the industry the opportunity to access high quality and flexible apprenticeship training. We’ve selected these Centres as part of the pilot as they have actively engaged with us and employers to ensure they deliver the skills employers want and need. Over the coming months we’ll be honing the CoE concept to ensure it delivers for employers, apprentices and providers and will look to expand the network with like-minded colleges and training providers that want to deliver for industry”.
CITB has supported the pilot, including with funding to support a research exercise to map demand for joinery apprenticeship training and the supply currently available. The results will inform the second phase of expansion for more Centres across the UK.
Over the coming weeks BWF will issue formal guidance to members and the wider industry on how to access the new flexible model for apprenticeship training.