The Clockmaker Apprenticeship – your trade needs you!

So much has happened since I last sat down to write an update on the Clockmaker Apprenticeship ­– no-one could have predicted Coronavirus and the devasting effects it has brought.

Work on the Apprenticeship has been stagnant for some months whilst, as a business, world events and lockdowns have been dealt with. I am now able to turn my attention back and start to pick it up from where it was left.

The Institute for Apprenticeships had already published the standard and the endpoint assessment plan towards the end of last year and approved it for delivery in February 2020. These can be found on the Institutes website under the following link https:www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/clock...

However we now need to prove to the assessing body that there is indeed a need for this apprenticeship and produce a business case.

The two areas we need to clarify are:

  • A firm commitment from a training provider that off-the- bench learning can be delivered and the administrative work for each apprentice completed correctly.
  • That there is a need for apprentices in the industry. This can be through either firm applications by prospective apprentices or by companies or individuals wanting to take an apprentice on once the scheme is up and running. And this is where we need your help.

The Working Group are continuing to work with the British Horological Institute to secure the training provider part of the requirements, but what we dont have is a number of people who would seriously consider taking a clock apprentice on once the scheme is up and running.

What we need is for any company or individual looking to take on an apprentice to get in touch as soon as possible on clockapprenticship@hotmail.com [sic].

The Assessing Body we are working with has had to change its business practice. Rather than just agreeing to assess an apprentice, they now, understandably, want to see that there is a definite need for that apprenticeship..

Once these two areas have been addressed we can continue to progress the scheme.

For those interested in taking on an apprentice, the Government cover up to 95% of the training and assessing costs, up to the funding band allocated to this apprenticeship scheme. This removes the largest cost involved in training someone in the workshop and giving them a recognised qualification at the end of the process.

The employer is responsible for the uncovered training cost, typically 5%, meaning that for every £100 that is spent on training the employer would typically only have to find £5.

The Government has also announced that they will pay businesses a bonus for taking apprentices on in the next six months more details can be found on www.gov.uk and search Employing an Apprentice.

With this in mind, the Working Group want to get the end point assessing organisation to agree in principle as quickly as possible so that businesses can take advantage of this bonus if at all possible.

But we can not do this without your help. So, please, if you would seriously consider taking an apprentice get in touch so that we can move this important scheme forward and help protect and preserve the trade for future generations.

If we cannot prove that there is a business case for this, the Clockmaker Apprenticeship will go no further than it is at present.

The Working Group have put in many hours of hard work to get to this point and we can do no more without your input and commitment to the project.

Now is the time as a trade to stand united behind this and to help drive it forward, protecting the endangered skills and knowledge for future generations and to build on the long history of clockmakers in the country.

Once we have this supporting evidence, the Assessing Body is happy to give the Institute of Apprenticeships an agreement of assessment in principle. This  will allow individuals and companies to take on apprentices and start accessing the funding to train them, as well as putting them through training courses from the training provider.

The actual assessments can be written in tandem with the apprentices and it is designed to take 24 months to complete.

As the Chair of the Working Group I will continue to liaise with the BHI, as the training provider, to ensure that there is a way for apprentice and employers accessing off-the-bench training. Once we have the evidence, we will work with the assessing body to finalise and write the assessments for the apprenticeship.

I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully with your help and support, we will get this apprenticeship up and running to protect and further the trade of clockmaking.

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